When Rozovsky and her Google colleagues encountered the concept of psychological safety in academic papers, it was as if everything suddenly fell into place. One engineer, for instance, had told researchers that his team leader was ‘‘direct and straightforward, which creates a safe space for you to take risks.’’ That team, researchers estimated, was among Google’s accomplished groups. By contrast, another engineer had told the researchers that his ‘‘team leader has poor emotional control.’’ He added: ‘‘He panics over small issues and keeps trying to grab control. I would hate to be driving with him being in the passenger seat, because he would keep trying to grab the steering wheel and crash the car.’’ That team, researchers presumed, did not perform well.
I’ve always been obsessed with with Google knows about hiring and management that I don’t.
And it looks like we now have a good answer.
TL;DR: If you want to have a high-performing team, you need to have a team that feels empathically connected with itself, and where everyone feels emotionally safe with sharing their insecurities and weaknesses with each other.
I wrote a leadership primer a while back, and I’m going to be updating it with what I learned from this.
Ultimately, as per my Algorithmic Learning post, I need to continually update my methodology for understanding how to be the best leader one can be.