Lately, I seem to be hearing a lot about psychological safety as a new strategy to help teams perform more effectively in the workplace. Let’s be clear; there is nothing new about the concept. The term was first coined in 1965 by MIT professors Edgar Schein and Warren Bennis, who argued that psychological safety was essential for making people feel secure and capable of changing their behavior in response to shifting organizational challenges.
What is new is the search for tools and procedures that will make us feel less insecure and less incapable within organizations. My proposal is a real-time intervention (object123.com) and a SaaS network (Disputz.com) to adjudicate, when needed to help resolve our internal disputes.
Presently there seems to be such a disconnect between how we go about resolving internal disputes within teams and the search for psychological safety, and I am stunned. I don’t think we can have a psychologically safe environment without an intricate and effectively designed dispute resolution plan that considers managers are as likely to be an offender as fellow teammates are, on occasion.
Maybe, instead of asking what are you doing that’s new in your organization, ask what are you doing that is different.