I am Not as Nice as People Think

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With all the buzz around for the need to ensure psychological safety, we cannot let this translate into enabling people’s poor performance. Work is not all ‘love-ins’ and kumbaya. It’s about performance, about outcomes, about metrics, about group performance and grabbing the best of us when we are together.

Psychological safety is not the opposite of holding people to high standards through accountability. If we did that, then psychological safety would drive complacency.

The goal is not psychological safety.

The goal is achievement.

Safety is the most important driver of achievement; it is not the primary goal.

We all experience ruin from someone not doing their job well. The more damaging thing to the culture though is often not the individual themselves, but how that person is dealt with by management. If there is too much tolerance, it leaves the rest of us with a paradox of cultural expectations. It undermines our commitment and conviction. It weakens the leaders because they are not dealing with it effectively. It also weakens the ‘brand’ of the team which weakens the attractiveness of being in the team.

Never let your drive to ensure psychological safety translate into your beliefs about being ‘nice’. It will inhibit your ability to progress with driving excellence.

If you are serious about driving psychological safety, you are serious about holding people to account. You can’t have one without the other.

As always, I'd love to keep talking, let me know your thoughts.



Amy works with teams to drive courageous collaboration for remarkable achievements through her program The Safe Space. Contact us via the form below for more information or to make sure that your team or Division are booked in for 2019.

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