Early-stage Misbehavior Intervention Toolkit Vs Positive Behavior Reinforcement Certifiers

It is estimated that the cost of not having a psychologically safe workplace is around $600 billion annually in the US, in employee turnover. So I guess it would be an excellent business to promote psychological safety in whatever form that takes.

Most behavioral psychologists are promoting psychological safety nowadays. They mainly focus on positive behavior and how we should behave rather than addressing team misbehavior and internal conflicts. I guess this is a hangover from the Positive Psychology movement. Generally, we all know how we should behave; it has been drummed into us since we were kids. This positive behavior emphasis and upgrade is being taught to managers or leaders. It requires them to be trained in expensive workshops, run by expensive certified consultants, or they are encouraged to read the books of top certifiers such as Amy Edmondson and Kim Scott. It is a big business and getting bigger.

So their story goes like this: if we (managers and team) behave “well,” we will eventually feel safe enough to speak up. That is their hypothesis, and most believe it is on its way as they reassure us that “fostering psychology safety” remains a “work in progress”—a lifetime gig.

I am unsure if you can see the flaws in this theory, but I can see a few.

  1. The list of positive behavior traits and skills leaders would need to learn and encourage their teams to adapt is enormous and never ending.
  2. Managers or leaders become the linchpin for achieving psychological safety, when more than 35% of all workplace conflict usually involves managers. It is like the fox minding the chickens.
  3. Everyone in a team will experience a different level of “psychological safety” or, more to the point, psychological uncertainty depending on who they are talking to in the team and until this psychological safety construct is proficient throughout the team.
  4. They are promoting a “psychological safety” that one disrupter can bring down. This means to me one would have to ask just how safe this environment is and how does this encourage a disrupter in the first place. In other words disruptors (those that speak up and speak out are unwelcome).
    *The irony is that the disrupter is probably the only one who is compelled enough to speak up.

On the other hand, imagine if we were all allowed to behave as we deemed fit (to be a disrupter). However, we also agreed that we could use an early-stage misbehavior intervention to address and self-manage any micro-conflict caused by behavior we found made us feel uncomfortable or offended. We all would be our brothers (and sisters) keepers and could intervene on our own behalf. No one would be above or below the other when it came specifically to our misbehavior, including managers and even the CEO.

Of course, this early-stage misbehavior intervention would need to be designed very well and tested to cater for when our objections to misbehavior were challenged or disputed by the team member being accused of infringing, and some form of adjudication required by any conflict that may result from this procedure.

I am in the process of developing such an early-stage misbehavior intervention toolkit, called SpatzAI. Then, by adding a messaging app to facilitate this procedure, we can document and collate the data, parse it, and use an AI to machine learn from the potentially massive amount of real world data collected in the 3-step objection procedure and corresponding replies.

No more workshops, certified coaches, or longwinded books on the subject, as the system is self-managed, run by ourselves and peer-reviewed by a network of our peers, with the help of the Spatz AI as an added objective opinion to help resolve any of our unresolved conflicts and to make predictions of a teams potential successes or failures based on the corresponding misbehavior data.

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