May 3rd: Difference Day

May 2, 2020
Frieda Janssens

Since 1993, May 3 rd has been declared Difference Day. The aim was to pay more attention to the right to freedom of expression, especially freedom of the press. Independent press media and a diversity of views are essential to maintain our democratic society. After 27 years it still is the case.

Psychological safety is THE condition for open communication. Organisations with well performing teams have employees who feel safe.

In 2012, Google investigated with a project called Aristotle why some teams were successful and others were not.

180 teams across the company got examined. No matter how the data were ranked - skills, background, personality types - no statistical evidence could be found.

However, what researchers noticed was that they felt down and exhausted in the "stumbling" teams, while the successful teams gave them an energy boost! The key to success seemed to lie in the dynamism of the latter: critical questions were asked, ideas were discussed, mistakes were shared, jokes were told, difficult subjects were put on the table. Everyone felt accepted, encouraged and relaxed. Conclusion: team members felt safe enough to express themselves without hesitation.

What can you do as a leader to make your team feel psychologically safe?

  • Put together a diverse team
  • Focus on respect for other opinions
  • Perceive objections as a source of wisdom
  • Give space to mistakes
  • Tell the team how their work fits into the bigger picture
  • Honor the values ‚Äč‚Äčthat are needed
  • Teach them to practice empathic skills so that they can sense the emotions of others more quickly.

What benefit do you get? Healthy connections necessary to develop to the next level!

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