Emotional safety, it’s interesting. Five years ago, we did not talk a lot about this, but since Amy Godmonson especially put this on the map for all to see, it has become an important and much-discussed topic when we talk about Leadership development.
John Hibss just posted a great piece here on this that made me think: This is such an important point – but I wish I could get more people to understand the subtleties involved.
Emotional safety is one of these things that we all understand. Nod our heads and go: “Yes – so important. Thankfully not something I need to be too concerned about – can’t imagine anyone on my team feeling emotionally unsafe.”
Well, I have news for you (and us all ) – we make a lot more people feel emotionally unsafe than we often imagine. I know this because, in my job, I often coach people from the same organisation but at different levels as part of my Grow Leadership program. And I observe this unfolding again and again.
So many brilliant, well-meaning managers are unaware of how their sense of humour, moods, decision patterns, goal setting, meeting style, lack of inquiry, focus on advocacy etc. etc, impacts people around them.
The best way to become more self-aware is to try and notice – but truly pay attention to – everyone on my team contributing. ( in the broadest sense of the word). And if you get the feeling that someone is holding back – even just the slightest – they are probably holding back because they are unsure if it is safe to contribute fully. ( you can define ‘contribute’ as it applies in your context)