The psychological safety playbook with Minette Norman and Karolin Helbig

“lead more powerfully by being more human”

Karolin, Minette and I delve into the world of being more human at work.

We discuss how leaders can create these conditions in their work environment, as part of the normal ways of working. Where does safety show up and how can they enhance it through their understanding of more human centred management practices ? There is safety within collaboration; it takes time to develop and grows over time yet is simple to practice, in both virtual and face to face environments. Leaders must equip themselves with a deep enough understanding how to make their environment safe so that people can let go, experiment and share their ideas fully.

Psychological safety brings hope and a new leadership paradigm to building more innovative and inclusive workplaces. It is easy to forget we are human beings in a transactional environment, and intentional psychological safety provides the foundation for us to be explicitly inclusive – this needs to become a muscle we exercise as leaders everyday.

Karolin and Minette share their experiences, stories, insight and research from working with leaders all over the globe and how they crafted the toolkit that is in their newly published book : The psychological safety playbook.

The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :

–       The authors came across each other online, have never met in real life – a perfect example of a psychological safe space! – and bring together science (doctorate in genetics) and business (Silicon Valley corporate experience).

–       There is safety within collaboration; it takes time to develop and grows over time yet is simple.

–       The workplace needs to be safer and more human, and the book offers a simple and light-hearted approach to this complex problem.

–       It was a ’playful’ start to creating a useful book, which sets out five important topics to increase psychological safety.

–       The book consists of five plays and five moves that are all standalone and self-contained – a modular approach with anecdotes as explanations.

–       The plays scale empathy to enable leaders to connect with the people they work with, one interaction, conversation and reaction at a time.

–       It is designed to fill the gap of ‘how’ to create psychological safety (for leaders) in a short, concise form that focuses on only the essential.

–       It draws on the authors’ everyday experiences with clients and is a developmental practice, granting permission to experiment.

–       Scientists know experiments don’t always work out, but they provide valuable information and data points to learn from failure.

–       The ‘red threads’ of curiosity, openness and empathy are also the authors’ shared core values, which provide the underlying human connection.

–       The authors practiced what they preach in the book, learned and ‘played’ themselves and experimented in order for the book to have great human impact.

–       Psychological safety brings hope and a new leadership paradigm to inclusion. It is easy to forget we are human beings in a transactional environment and psychological safety provides the foundation for an inclusive environment.

–       Anyone working with a team must contribute to creating a safe environment where people can disagree and be different but feel able to speak up.  

–       The stronger the human connections, the easier the uncomfortable conversations become.

–       One way to measure psychological safety is a ‘fearless organisation scan’ to provide data prior to action, but the most important thing is to act based on the data – in science, it starts to get interesting after the measuring stage.

–       The playbook can and should be used in a book club, for example, to spread the word, build a movement, and share the work widely as it can be transformational.   

–       A second book is in the pipeline – a ‘simmering pot’ of feedback, reactions, research and data to offer information about toxic/unsafe environments. All input gratefully received!

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Suzie Lewis

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