Business performance and engagement improves when your team feels safe and confident. It also reduces absenteeism and staff turnover.
So, how can you start building a workplace that fosters safety and confidence?
Leadership expert, Simon Sinek, says in one of his Ted Talk (When employees don't feel safe), we are forced to spend our own time and energy to protect ourselves from each other, which inherently weakens the organisation. When we feel safe inside the organisation, we will naturally combine our talents and our strengths and work tirelessly to face the dangers outside and seize the opportunities."
Here are three simple steps that you can start to do to build a confident and high performing team at work:
Step 1: Build a psychologically, safe working environment.
According to Amy Edmondson, (a leading Harvard Business School psychological safety researcher), psychological safety in the workplace is important to improve collaboration and teamwork; "feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea." [https://www.jstor.org/stable/2666999?origin=JSTOR-pdf&seq=1]
When your employees feel psychologically safe, they'd be more willing to take risks around their team members. They will be confident that no one will reprimand them for coming up with new ideas or admitting mistakes.
In the book, Black Box Thinking, Matthew Syed highlighted that mistakes are the key to success. [https://www.director.co.uk/2392-matthew-syed-analysing-mistakes-is-key-to-success/]
Step 2: Building confidence takes consistency and persistence
Psychological safety can't be achieved overnight. It takes time and much practice to build it. The initial step to success is to create the habits of bringing out the best from your team. For example, when an employee reaches out and asks for your help, a go-to line to build his/her confidence is: "What do you think we should do?" encouraging conversation and discussion. You are giving your employees a voice to the company as they express their opinions and ideas.
In a research study entitled: Psychological Safety: The History, Renaissance, and Future of an Interpersonal Construct - "Upward communication can be a vital force in helping contemporary organisations learn and succeed; by speaking up to those who occupy positions to authorise actions, employees can help challenge the status quo, identify problems or opportunities for improvement, and offer ideas to improve their organisations' well-being."