S2E11 – Psychological Safety

Respect a whole person, before you expect a whole person! Let me start by killing a misconspetion about Psychological safety.

There is no “Kumbaya” over it, and it does not mean that there will be no conflicts. In fact, Psychologica Safety is about handling conflicts in a constructive way. Its about fostering intelectual disagreements and using them, and its about avoiding personal attacks which are unconstructive.

By fostering Psychological Safety, you can increase productivity, innovation, good designs and so much more. You will be able to have great days at work, and you will end up bringing.. not only your hands and brains to work, but also your heart.


The Fearless organization

The 4 stages of Psychological Safety

The Creative Collective

You should listen to these episodes as well

S2E10 – Creativity

S1E5 – Flow


The whole conversation transcribed if you would like to read it all

Martin Whiskin 0:02
You’re listening to hidden by design a podcast about the stuff that you didn’t know about design. My name is Martin. And this is

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:10
Hidden By Design

Martin Whiskin 0:11
Nailed it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:12
Oh, yeah. And my name is Thorbjørn now the podcast starts

Martin Whiskin 0:18
And we should start recording now you’re

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 0:20
Not recording you’re ready with the new episodes. And this episode is going to be about psychological safety. It’s is one of my favorites, like as a leader. And so, in my day to day job, I’m leading a design team. And psychological safety is one of my biggest tools that I’ve tried to use. It’s also one of the most important things that’s happening in modern leadership, I would say. So the headline or the sub title of this episode is respecting the whole person before expecting the whole person. And and I think a lot of companies kind of expect people to be engaged fully and wholly engaged in work. But at the same time, they don’t respect that whole person. And I think that’s, that’s kind of the topic of today. What we’re going to learn today, Martin, yes. Do you have something to say?

Martin Whiskin 0:20
I was gonna let the listeners know that this is a true hidden by design episode that, to be honest, the teacher and the student who knows absolute or sick? I think I know nothing about this topic.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:32
Yeah? we’ll see about that.

Martin Whiskin 1:34
It might be something that I realize is a thing, without having ever had a name put to it. At the moment, yeah, I’m in the dark,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 1:43
when we reach the four stages of psychological safety, I will guarantee that you can at least recognize because that’s why I have it there is because it’s it’s something that is recognizable. And that that is easy to relate to, for most people. So today, Martin, you will learn what psychological safety is as a concept. And and through that, I’m going to tell a story about hospitals about Google, and how that relates to that concept, we’re going to talk a little bit about how it’s going to affect your ability to being creative, and innovative. So we talked about creativity, I think it was last time, right? And and then you’ll teach, I’ll teach you about silence. And how being silent is being safe.

Martin Whiskin 2:33

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 2:34
and why that is wrong at a workplace. So with those words, one of the one who is the person who, who, I would say popular pop popularized, popularized, made psychological safety, a popular popular thing or really brought attention to it. She wrote a book called The fearless organization and she’s called Amy Edmondson

Martin Whiskin 3:04
that was a seamless link seamless, on to the quote of the day and wonder who it’s by. So the quote of the day today is psychological safety is the shared belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes. And that was Amy Edmondson.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 3:04
And and that in a nutshell, well, that’s a wrap of this episode. Thank you for listening. So that is that’s that’s the definition of I would say the definition of psychological safety

Martin Whiskin 3:41
is the is this linked with the giving feedback episode,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 3:46
It’s also linked with the giving feedback. So So and I guess, it’s linked to creativity, it’s linked to giving and receiving feedback, it’s linked to all of these different ways of being a creative person doing design. In general, if you’re working in a team, together with other people, psychological safety is fundamental for how you perform. And if you think back to school, for example, and you were in a team of other people, you would always say it’s like, there’s a slacker there’s, you know, initiated this. So so that that’s, there’s always a dynamic in these groups. And psychological safety is about explain any, it’s about explaining this dynamic and how to improve it or make it so that everyone is engaged in that group. So it already starts, you know, making it popular starts with the hospital. So, Amy, I’m pretty sure it was Amy No All those of us who get a doubt, but she did some, she did some research on hospitals, she was investigating error and mistakes and hospitals. The beginning of that is that she’s looking at some numbers, she’s looking at mistakes on hospitals, and she’s looking at people coming back to the hospitals or dying after operations or So taking a look at the hospital, and all of them mistakes that’s reported, and all of the errors that actually comes in. And she have a very interesting finding, which is, at one hospital, the errors and mistakes are sky high. So they just make a lot of mistakes to look at a lot of errors, the they have a lot of, of reported incidents of things that’s happening. If you then look at it, though, the amount of people who die or come back after operations or have missed treatments, or, you know, complaints, it’s absolutely low, there’s almost nothing, then you go to the other hospital, and it has no errors and no mistakes, nothing is being done wrong. Everything is just perfect. However, the rate of people dying, coming back complaining, all of that after operations is sky high. And then she looks at these numbers. And she’s that looks weird, right? How can the hospital that makes most mistakes, have the best service and vice versa. And so what you found was that on the hospitals that have high rates of mistakes, it was not because they made more mistakes in the hospital, you could even speculate that they make less mistakes. What they did was that they had a culture where it was allowed to speak about mistakes, which meant that they wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. So they had a culture where everyone was enabled and encouraged to speak up when they saw something wrong. And that meant that the service as a whole kind of went down. Whereas the other one which was driven by fear, and Hiroki. You know when a nurse would tell a doctor, are you sure that’s the right medication, then she would be silenced. And, and that kind of was the end of that story. Right? Yeah,

Martin Whiskin 7:45
this this makes me think of when I was at school. So I was at a grammar school for the last years of my education. And that wasn’t I wasn’t being big headed them. But I wasn’t very good at grammar school, I shouldn’t have been there. But but they for people that they thought would file their final exams, they made them pay to be in those exams, in the hope that some people wouldn’t pay to be in those exams. Therefore, the marks would appear to be higher across the board. So if they were silencing the people who perhaps couldn’t afford it or didn’t want to pay, so yeah, that there was a I can feel a similarity. Yes, there. They wasn’t talking to that when talking about the bad results. Yeah.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 8:33
And they create fake numbers. And there’s a lot of there’s a lot of deceptive design in that as well. Yeah. That That sounds really bad. Actually. They’re the research from these hospitals, which is similar to, you know, a little bit similar to the school example here is just jump to Google. Not connected yet. Google is making some research and they’re doing some investigation, because what they’re seeing is a pattern of high performing teams, not necessarily being the best people. So you’ll hire someone who is supposed to have many years of experience really talented, you’ve seen that work, they’re really, really good. And you put them in a team with other people of similar trait, right? So a lot of rock stars, you put them in the same room, and then you expect them to do be high performing and doing great assault. And then they just have a lot of these teams and that they look at it and they see well, it’s there’s no correlation. We don’t understand it. But some of the junior teams are performing better than the senior teams. Some of their unlikely teams are performing better than the ones who should be performing right. So they have this thing and they put down a research team and they try to really understand what’s going on. So they’re looking at, you know, social background and looking at necessity, they’re looking at seniority, they’re looking at all of these different things to try to figure out why they can’t figure out why some teams are performing, and some are not. And they really can’t figure it out until one of them reads her research, which concludes that a high psychological safety where the, the collaboration in the team is good. That’s where you get high performance and everything clicks for these people. And so they made a report afterwards, Google made a report about how the construction of team and is psychological safe environment in those teams. Like the main indicates, like, that’s the main thing that will make a team perform is if that internal psychological safety in that team is there. And that is, as the quote indicates, right? That is daring to speak up.

So if you look at the human mind, or the human, as a psychic in an Indian, as an individual, the subtitle was the whole human. So what’s the whole human that you bring to work? That’s your hands, it’s your brains, and it’s your heart, right? So you have these three components. And, and I can go to work with only my hands everyday, I can go in, I can sit down, I can meet on time, and I can do the practical work that needs to get done. If I don’t need to think I don’t need to believe in it or like it, I can do it still. Right, then you have the brains is that you start thinking about reflecting about it. And you do what’s right. And you think ahead and you make plans for the work that you do. And then this heart is, I think that the end of it is are you proud of what you do? When you’re at a party? Do you talk about your work, and you feel proud of it. It’s like that’s when your heart is there. And you know that you’re kind of engaged in a different way. Now, if you have a fear driven environment, where you have like a very dominant person on the team, or very dominant leader, who knows everything, and will scold you, if you say something wrong, from a psychological point of view, it’s easier to be silent, even if you know that it’s going to impact a lot of people. But if you see something wrong, that’s just, you know, a very aggressive leader is scolding something, and you know that it’s not that person’s fault, or you know that it’s not in that environment, you’re not going to speak up, you’re just going to watch because you’re protecting yourself. And so that’s why when you start having these environment where someone has taken charge, in a unfortunate way, you will start having, you know, unfortunate, like Silent teams, teams where they’re waiting for someone, specifically the leader, to come up and set a direction so that they can use their hand and maybe their brains, but not their hearts in the work that they do. And so if you want to have innovation, and creativity that’s like that lies in the hearts, hearts and brains, right? So if you don’t engage that, it’s like, I don’t know, is it starting to make sense?

Martin Whiskin 13:55
Yeah. So I was trying to compare it to what I do now to when I was employed. And that was very much hands and brains. There wasn’t I wasn’t passionate about it or anything like that. There was no I think I’ve said on a previous episode, I was the only person who knew how to do that.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:13

Martin Whiskin 14:14
So no one could really get get involved. But yeah, it was I was dealing with, with data, and there’s only so much passion that I could have for data.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:27
I’m telling you once in a while,

Martin Whiskin 14:30
but like but now because it’s my thing, you know, what I’m doing is very creative. And I’m my own boss. It’s, you know, there’s so much more excitement and and love for it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 14:40
And that shines through right? That shines through that you’re proud of what you do, and you really like it. And I think in the end, it’s instead of going from being compliant, like you do what the job tells you to do, to being committed meaning you’ll think of and that’s really what cycle logical safety is about is like going from compliance to commitment to, to being proud of what you do, and to just have the whole human, the whole person is there. And so in the end, that’s, that’s it right, you want to respect the whole, you want to respect the whole person, before you expect the whole person. And as a company, that’s, that’s really, really important to understand.

So that brings us to the four stages of psychological safety, I really, really like this, there’s a book called the four stages of psychological safety, if it’s like a practical guide, and how you do this. I like it a lot, because it’s, it’s short, and it’s concrete. So the four stages of psychological safety is inclusions safety, learners safety, contribution safety and challengers safety. So he split up the, the way that the group dynamic works into these four stages. You know, you could say that there’s a fifth state, which is exclusion, which is before inclusion. So it’s kind of it’s like a staircase, right? So you can’t have learner safety before you have inclusion, safety, and you can’t have contributor safety before you have learner safety. And you can’t have challenger safety, before you have contribution safety. When you look at when you’re looking at them, inclusion, safety, that’s the first part of it. So that’s the most fundamental, if you don’t feel included in a group, if you don’t feel like a member of it, you’re you’re unable to contribute or do anything in that group, right. So if you don’t feel as part of a company, or part of a group, or part of a community, or a group, it’s like there’s no ground for you to to participate, really, then you will be truly just hands, right, you’re just waiting for everyone else to do their thing. And if you think back to school, that’s typically what happened to the person who was not contributing, being late for everything and just not wanting, they were also not part of the group, and why that person was not there being late, everyone else will be back talking that person, right. And, and that made that person excluded, which meant that they didn’t have any motivation, or any respect from the group, as an individual. And obviously, it goes two ways, right? There’s nothing worse than being in the group with, with a person that don’t contribute, right. So. So it’s a two way thing. It’s not just one, the group doesn’t have to be inclusive. On at all, you know, at the cost of the group is like it’s a two way thing. But talking about it and just, you know, speaking about it is. So inclusion, safety is the foundation, that’s a fundamental that just needs to be in place for you to be in a being in a place where people actually starts. So the next step in the four stages, or the next stage is to learn a safety. Learner safety is it’s that moment where you dare to ask the stupid question.

Martin Whiskin 18:30
I’ve written that down. There are no stupid questions.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 18:32
Exactly. And that’s so so and that’s, that’s it. That’s learners safety. It’s every one of the team, everyone in the group should be able to ask the stupid question. And, and not be afraid of it, because this is what happens inside of you. Right? DOJ asked a question and risk being humiliated and made fun off, because it’s a stupid question, or do I just stay silent?

Martin Whiskin 19:04
I think there’s still people that that don’t ask the questions, even when that is put to them. There are no stupid question, they’ll still be sort of concerned about their own embarrassment. Yes, and saying something.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 19:17
And that’s because they don’t feel safe in that group. Right. They’re not think about it, right? The people who don’t if you’re at a conference, and or a big audience, right, and it’s being asked, Do you have questions? How many people in there do you think have questions and how many of those questions are being asked? Sometimes you will hear, you know, questions that are obviously there because they just want to break that awkward silence and so one was, but it’s it’s really, really fearful. It’s it’s a, it’s a it’s a brave act to ask a question in a in a, in a gathering of a lot of People, but it’s also a brave task to ask in a smaller group where you’re not really part of the group yet, right? So you’re asking these questions, and is to fear. It’s the fear of being stupid and humiliated, and being left outside and just thinking that everyone else thinks that I’m an idiot now. So that’s the second stage of psychological safety. And, and this is where you can it’s like, there’s this thing as a leadership, right? If, if you if you start punishing people from asking these questions, I usually say it’s like punishing people, for making mistakes. Is, is not teaching them to not make mistakes, it teaches them to hide the mistakes, because everyone makes mistakes, right? And so we go back to the hospitals, it’s like, if you punish people from making mistakes, you will teach them to hide it. And you won’t solve anything. And I think that that comes in here. And as a leader, you have to just really, really make sure that, that you catch people, and that you let them know that you’re going to catch them if they fall. Like if they ask that, that question is, no one will, will will do you any harm, right? Because you want those questions, specifically, if you want to be creative, and specifically, if you want high performing teams, and have a good culture, you need that safety. So now we’re in in, you know, the learners safety, which is you’re safe to learn, you’re safe to ask questions, you’re safe to, to be stupid for a moment, you’re ready for all of that. Then you go to the next stage, which is contribution safety, or contributor, safety. And it’s, it’s like one step further is do your dare sharing ideas. So one thing is asking a question, and feeling safe to learn. Another one is to ask the stupid questions. And and, and so we’re at a point where not only asking the question, but coming with a contribution to the team. You know, that moment where someone says, What if we did something different? What if we, what if we could do it? Could we solve the problem this way? Or what if we did things? Yeah. And that, that requires either a very strong team, with a lot of psychological, psychological safety is basically you daring to do that. And the last stage, at the very, very top of the pyramid here, or this stairwell, is to challenger safety. And I think the challenge of safety step is really where things fall in place. As a leader, this is where I am, I’m, I’m looking at my team, and I’m just waiting for them to do this. And the challenge of safety is that they challenge the status quo, the challenge, what we did, and always have done the challenge how things are done? And say, I don’t understand this, maybe we should do it differently, or are you sure this is the right way? And they do this to the authority of the group, which is the leader. So whenever someone on my team says, to me, Thorbjørn, you sure? This seems like not the best idea? Then Then I get really, really happy, not because they’re trying to shoot down my ideas. But because I know that they are now reflecting upon the visions or the strategy or whatever it is that I’m putting up. And they say, We don’t understand it. It doesn’t make sense to us. And for me, that’s important information, because maybe I’m just sitting in my ivory tower making strategies that no one that’s not in this, like, that’s not in line with, with with this like reality. And EPA, it’s really difficult. And so if you think about all of this, is that that each situation, when you’re in your family, you’re probably at the very top of the stage, right? You can talk to your wife about anything you can, you can really so in that group, you’re safe. At The Creative Collective, maybe the things are different for some people, right? And then when you’re in a big crowd, it’s again different. So each group have a different dynamic. It and it takes work to kind of get. I don’t know, like, I hope this all makes sense, right?

Martin Whiskin 25:06
Yeah. And you can really see that I was making notes all through that. And you can really see that when you start talking about the Challenger safety, yes, how that can’t exist with the other things. And it’s almost like a growing of confidence as you get through the stages because of the environment that you’re in. But you can’t chat, you wouldn’t challenge the status quo. If you were scared to say something.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:30
Yes, exactly.

Martin Whiskin 25:31
That Yeah. So like the step and not having it like a set of stairs? The analogy was really good, really helpful, I think.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 25:39
Because that because then you start thinking about, right how, like, where are we on these stages? And what can we do to get to the next stage, right? Is everyone included? Because if you want to innovate, any want to be creative, as a team, you need everyone to ask questions, you need everyone to contribute. And specifically, if you want to, to create something new and progressive, you typically will put innovation into defensive innovation and aggressive innovate innovation, right? So defensive, is everyone else is doing this. And we have to come up with a solution fast to solve this, right. So we have to be innovative of because, you know, otherwise, we will the company will die, right? Or I’ll lose my job. And so you become in this defensive innovation mode. And you can get to that point in the contribution, safety space, right? Everyone chipped in with ideas. But to be aggressively innovative, meaning changing things on the market change making new things, you need to go to the challenge of safety, because there will always be someone on the team that will say, Well, this is the way that we did it all all the time, right. And if that person is the one in power, who knows how things are supposed to be done, you have the problem, you will have the problem of not being able to do that, because not everyone can contribute. And then you will have the, you know, freak accident of luck, where, or where, you know, the leader will get a good idea, and everyone will get behind it. But it’s yeah.

Martin Whiskin 27:33
Is sometimes it’s easier for an outside party to challenge the status quo. So the example that I’m thinking of, I’ve got a colleague who makes videos, yeah. And she, she was trying to work with some estate agents. And quite a lot of them are quite receptive. But also, we’ve already got videos, you know, especially she met this one guy who, you know, is an old school estate agent. So it’s very sort of traditional, didn’t believe in videos. And then she tried to, he was very, very adamant. They didn’t want videos, we’ve never had videos before. We’ve done fine, you know, for 40 years, why would we need them now sort of thing? And then she sort of started talking about his competitors or using videos and what how it could further the business? So is it easier for someone who is who doesn’t provide that safe environment to hear it from someone who’s not connected to the business? Do you think?

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 28:35
That’s a really good question, Martin. So first, I was thinking about like, someone coming from the outside with authority, right? I’m being paid to be here and come with suggestions. So the relationship is already different in that, that, if we go back to the episode about creativity, we know that connecting different domains and fields and knowledge about other things is where creativity comes from. And I would say it’s like in when I was in design school, we had a session with something called Visual Communication, which is basically marketing. Right? It’s like all graphical design and marketing, I would say. He, the teacher there said something really, really clever. And it says when you do a good job, as a, as a person who is doing a logo or doing a poster or doing something for a client. You are not as a designer, the one who comes up with the ideas. You’re not the one who should tell the client how to do things. You have to get the client to understand things. And so if you walk away from a client and the client thinking I could have done that without the designer, this was too easy. Then as a designer, you did a good job, right? So taking your example of, of the person who’s coming in and saying you need to do videos, and if the person saying, well, we didn’t never did videos before, then you’re, you’re saying, Yeah, it’s a good. I’m talking my way through this, Martin, I’m sorry.

Martin Whiskin 30:22
No excuse is good,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 30:24
because it’s a difficult question. Because you’re, you’re, basically, you’re basically taking an outside person that’s not included. That’s not in a learner safety. They have some authority and some professionalism in the way that they handle themself. And they know they’re hired, because no one else know anything about this. And therefore, I’m here as an authority. And the right way of handling that is to ask a question, so that people understand why they need to change, not to tell them to change, if that makes sense.

Martin Whiskin 30:57
Yeah, which, which is what what she what she was doing is trying to make them see, you know, the value behind it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 31:03
And in that case, like psychological safety is then is needed. If you go in and someone is just screaming at us, like shut up, I don’t need you here, then you have some work to do in building confidence and building, building. And typically the way that you will see people doing this, like really professional people will first of all, they will be kind, right, they will, they will buy people to trust. And second, they will ask some questions, they will start asking questions to to show the other person that I’m here to learn. Right? Then once I started asking these, this, these questions, I’ll contribute. Right, I’ll start actually saying, Well, what if you What are you trying to achieve? And maybe you could do it differently? Right. And then in the end, you have challenge to safety, where you’re challenging the mindset that that person have, but you still have to go through the stages, although a little bit quicker. But the you know, you can’t change someone mind. Unless you have that trust, if that makes sense.

Martin Whiskin 32:11

Just before we move on to the I have another one more question before we move on to the next bit. And I’m going to try and form it as as, as I say, so how about when someone has like a self imposed safety, so they just feel comfortable wherever they are? In sort of any situation. So a new guy starts in the office and start giving his opinion on everything straightaway, before he’s even in everyone else’s mind, part of the community part of the group, how does that work? Like, does it end up just annoying everyone, if someone has feels that they’re able to challenge start challenging straightaway,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 33:02
you will see that that goes really, really fast, that person will be excluded. And so it takes two right so so you can you can speak your ideas. And that’s why the other steps are important, right? Because if you don’t, if the group is not listening, you can come with all of the ideas that you want to but you’re not part like you’re not included in the group. And so you will come with ideas, and the group will talk about you afterwards. And you’ll be excluded. And you will see these posts, like you see this all the time. Where, where someone is being excluded, and they go from being engaged and happy and and then all of a sudden, they kind of just keep to themselves and you don’t hear about like you don’t hear from them anymore. Right. And And typically, those people will be seen as annoying, but really what they’re just trying to do is being part of the group, right? And I think I think it’s, it’s, it’s a good example of, of how that works, right? So my my younger brother works as a, what I call it, he works with children. As a you know, I don’t know what’s called Cats pedagogue is the Danish word for it. I don’t know what the English is. Anyways, so he said something really clever, which is the best thing you can give a child is positive attention. The next best thing you can give a child is negative attention. And the worst thing you can give a child is no attention. Which is why you know, parents would phones just read read pet. Because basically you’re ignoring your children, right? So so you have these three steps and these three steps also work in a community. So in order to be included, if you get some response, you’re included, right? So if you can’t get the positive then you will see these people that are desperate for attension, they will start saying stuff that, that gives them negative attention because at least then someone is talking to them if they’re being ignored, that’s The sure way of really making people excluded really, really fast.

Martin Whiskin 35:19
Which moves us to part two? So I’ve just had it.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 35:24
Yeah, we need to actually wrap it up, Martin. I think we’re there. Yeah,

Martin Whiskin 35:28
that was that’s that’s in part literally what you’ve what you’ve just spoken about the ignoring is worse than skull.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 35:34
Yes, absolutely.

Martin Whiskin 35:35
And that’s so true. So true. And

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 35:37
and you will see that in children like your worst the same with children as with with adults. You you see the kids, it was absolutely amazing. So I’m not saying I was doing a lot of bad stuff. As a child, I was a good kid,

Martin Whiskin 35:55
Really? Well, you I’ve heard the stories,

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 36:03
you will see these these dynamics of, of children being really, really bad, right. And typically, it’s for lack of attention. If your parents don’t see you, you will, if they don’t see you and give you positive attention, you will start making a lot of trouble. And I remember like, I was never hit by my best friend was like, he got a beating. Whenever we did something bad, he will get a beating and I will be sent to my room. And I always wanted to get a beating like him. Because the the, the thing that I had to deal with was being isolated and think about what I’ve done. And you know, the whole ignoring thing is like you were ignoring you for a period of time. And just getting the beating was way, it’s like I could hear him playing on the street like minutes later, because he just got slapped, and then out to play again, right. And I was lying in my room just listening to him. A lot of the things we did, and a lot of the bad things you do is to get that attention. So my younger brother and me didn’t get along very well as like when we were kids. And he would try to get my attention by doing bad stuff. Because I was just ignoring him because he was annoying little brother, right? So you see these dynamics everywhere, people being ignored, they really want to be part of the group, that they do annoying stuff, because it’s better to be seen that not seen, right? And if I can get the positive attention, bullying starts, it’s like, all of these things comes from this, this dynamic. So can you think of any situations where? Wait a minute, like, Alright, so there’s one thing we didn’t talk about. And that’s like, let’s discuss the last one. So in the psychological safe environment, one of the things that we want to see is intellectual friction instead of social friction. We’re talking about all of these things, where an intellectual friction means that we disagree on something on a professional plane. And we try to get so psychological safety doesn’t mean that everyone is happy, easy, go play the guitar, it means that we’re safe to have a very aggressive argument about stuff. But the aggressive argument doesn’t, it doesn’t become a personal argument. It becomes an argument about what should we do? And where are we going? Right. I hope that makes sense. Because we didn’t actually talk about that.

Martin Whiskin 38:45
Yeah, I think that’s that, for me, that’s pretty straightforward.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 38:49
So yeah, so intellectual friction, that is that we can have an argument that we say is like, these are uncomfortable topics to talk about, but I feel safe enough to talk about it. And I think what we’re doing right now is really, really stupid. And here’s why. Anyone have anything to say to that. Right. And so now you’re going into the territory of having candidates and constructive very, at times, aggressive conversations. That does not mean that the individuals are being scolded or personally attacked. Right. And I think that’s, that’s, that’s part of that’s part of the, the the place where you will see that psychological safety is in places when you can have good constructive conversations that will be heated, but without anyone feeling left out or hurt personally, I don’t know. Like, if, if, if there’s anything more to say that I can’t right now, I can’t actually think of any examples of where that happens. Except like it return. In small as a leader, it’s it’s kind of difficult to know when it happens. I burned myself many times in this, because in my head, I felt that everyone was safe. And then I realized afterwards that my authority as a person dictates otherwise. Right? So, so I did so many, as a leader, you will constantly do this. Because you think you’re feel safe, then you have the feeling that everyone else feels safe. I don’t know if that makes sense. And so as an authority, it’s like as an authority in a team, you have to be really, really careful. This is why leaders should talk last, it’s why you have all of these things where we’re as an authority, if you set the tone in the room, you can you kill the psychological safety immediately, by just saying, This is what we’re going to do. And then no one actually gets to, to say anything, because you already dictated it. And because you’re the most authoritative person in the room, your work goes right. And then it becomes easier for everyone to just follow along and be silent. If that makes sense. I don’t know. Like, have you been in situation where you had some really good intellectual friction?

Martin Whiskin 41:23
I was trying to think back when I guess my time in bands would be learned and songwriting would be that, but I have a strong feeling that there wasn’t challenges safe. Because again, I think I’ve mentioned it in a previous episode when I when I had written a song and brought it to Banbridge. So I was very sort of possessive and passionate about that being the right version of that song, because I spent so long forming it. Yeah. So yeah. So looking back now I was a bad leader. Not not having like the so there was inclusion safety, I think, yeah, because we were part of part of that group. But I think the other the other stages were probably a bit a bit blurry. Yeah.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 42:12
Yeah. And it’s kind of it is blurry. Most of the time, just like any, you can go up and down those stairs, it’s like you can say something as a leader that it will immediately put everyone down the staircase. The moment you scold someone, you just teach everyone to cover up their mistakes. Because they don’t want to risk that humiliation being scolded in front of others, man, that will just, you know, silence you. And when you bring something, it’s like your songs, I guess that’s a good example. What you’re really looking for is feedback. That’s what you’re asking for. When you get that feedback you feel personally attacked. And I think that’s, that is in the feedback episode. We talk a little bit about being personally attacked. We talk about episode 10 episode, episode. That’s, that’s that’s the that’s less this episode. Yeah. But I guess that’s a wrap. Martin, I think I hope that you learned all of the things that we set out to learn today is what psychological safety is in a nutshell, and how it affects your ability to be creative and innovative. And then use like spotting when people start becoming silent. That’s, that’s kind of bad. And then the four stages of psychological safety. In the shownotes, I’ll put some links to the books and, and things that you can read about, which is really good. Do you have some ending questions?

Martin Whiskin 43:45
Just a statement, I guess, like, I’m trying to relate a lot of this to, like, you mentioned the Creative Collective earlier and the group that I’m sort of CO run. And I think we, we think that we’re a safe environment. And I know that, you know, there are definitely people in there that they say that place feels like home to them. And it’s a you know, a proper, proper community. But I’m sure that there’s others in there who are quieter than others, maybe they just just not as as confident as some other people in those situations. But this has certainly given me food for thought. To make sure everything is as it should be in that group.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 44:26
I’ll put in the show notes, actually some some, some concrete, there’s some concrete tools where you can where you can measure psychological safety in a group, I’ll try to see if we can find some of those questionnaires and I’ll put it in the show notes and then then you can then you can try that out to just get a feel for it because sometimes you you feel that you have it should say but then you don’t actually have it up in at work. For example. I always use the word fight. Let’s fight about This and and I think maybe that’s, that’s that’s been a bad strategy when you’re in a psychological safe environment. Everyone understands the joke. I’ll just say I’ll fight you to the death on this topic. And then sometimes that will silence people. And I don’t notice it until someone else tells me you know, you just killed the wife with challenging some someone to a duel to to the death about a topic. They thought you were going to kill them. I’m not I’m a pacifist. I don’t believe in violence. Anyways, that’s it for this episode. Thank you.

Martin Whiskin 45:45
See you next time.

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 45:46
See you next time.

Thank you for listening to another episode of Hidden by design. You can find out more about us hidden by design. dotnet. Or you can find us on LinkedIn. My name is Martin whisking. This is Toby on Lingard Sorenson net. Yes. Got it. That’s good. You can also like, subscribe, follow the podcast on all of the platforms that’s important to follow it on all of the platforms. Give us five stars. And an excellent review please, as well. Thank you.

Can I say something?

Martin Whiskin 46:16

Thorbjørn Lynggaard Sørensen 46:17
We love you. I said something anyways, I’m a bad boy.

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