At Berkeley Lab, people with a variety of skills come together to tackle large-scale, impactful scientific challenges. We call this Team Science. Today, as we think more critically about how we do Team Science, we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to contribute so we never miss the chance to consider potentially valuable feedback or ideas. It’s important to recognize that all of us communicate differently, and that team dynamics and personal styles can sometimes prevent individuals from speaking up.
In her landmark 1999 paper, Harvard organizational behavioral scientist Amy Edmondson pioneered the concept of “team psychological safety,” which she defined as “the shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.” Google researchers took the concept a step further, finding that teams with a high degree of psychological safety were rated as effective twice as often, and that members of psychologically safe teams were less likely to leave the organization and were more successful at being creative together.
This month, the focus of our IDEA campaign is team psychological safety. Everyone can help build psychologically safe teams. This Harvard Business Review article offers some tips. You can also visit the Lab’s IDEA Psychological Safety resource page, and watch Elements for more information. Please join me in learning how to make our teams safer, more inclusive, and more innovative.