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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Radical Candor ... Psychological Safety ~ more of Team Building !!

Ever heard of ‘radical candor’ ?  How comfortable are you in life ? – how much do you like your workplace and are you passionate about the work and the place, the colleagues, the organisation and more ! – to some of us with experience in PSU as also in Private company [not necessarily as an employee – as an associate, business coordinate, service provider] – not all had problems, though some found difficulty in adjusting to changed environ .. .. the first thing bamboozling was use of ‘jargons’ – and the way people coexisted.  In a strict hierarchy, things are often stereo-typed with clarity in role and expectations

Read this piece in Forbes : To illustrate radical candor in action, Scott shared story about a time her boss criticized her. “I had just joined Google and gave a presentation to the founders and the CEO about how the AdSense business was doing. I walked in feeling a little nervous, but happily the business was on fire. When we told Larry, Sergey and Eric how many publishers we had added over the previous months, Eric almost fell off his chair and asked what resources they could give us to help continue this amazing success. So... I sort of felt like the meeting went okay.”But after the meeting, Scott’s boss, Sheryl Sandberg, suggested they take a walk together. She talked about the things she’d liked about the presentation and how impressed she was with the success the team was having — yet Scott could feel a “but” coming. “Finally she said, ‘But you said um a lot.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, no big deal. I know, I do that. But who cared if I said um when I had the tiger by the tail?’”

When people don't feel safe, they're not inclined to take risks. They may see opportunities to improve things or have differing ideas on how to approach a problem. But if the thought of stepping forward creates a sense of danger, most people would  think twice. That would certainly hinder development, both for the company and for the team members. .. .. .. .. safety is not physical alone – it is mental phenomenon too .. ..  Psychological safety is a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.In  psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected.

Adapting a company's communications culture to one of radical candor is key. Radical Candor is the ability to Challenge Directly and show you Care Personally at the same time. Radical Candor will help you and all the people you work with do the best work of your lives and build the best relationships of your career.  In an uncomplicated manner, Radical Candor  just means saying what you think while also giving a damn about the person you’re saying it to.  Is that not rare ?

Now read this interesting article seen in BBC this day.  One day, Lucy Parsons’ boss arrived at work without his usual moustache. It was a small thing, but she felt stressed. Should she mention it or not? Would it be OK to make a quick joke or at least ask what happened?Back then, she was a 23-year-old who had just completed her company’s graduate scheme. She was working on interesting projects at a retail firm in the UK and her career path looked promising. But she struggled to grasp the small, unwritten rules of the corporate world.

“It was this constant analysis and navigation of what I could say, what I could not say, what I could do, what I could not do,” she recalls.Many workers will understand Lucy’s anxiety. If you think about it, a lot of what we do at work carries some risk. What happens if someone dislikes an aspect of your personality? What is the line between being friendly and being a nuisance? How much of yourself can you safely ‘let go’ at work? 

As it turns out, the way teams allow people to ‘be themselves’ at work has important implications. Recent research suggests that work environments where people feel able to take interpersonal risks not only perform better, but are also more creative and more likely to solve problems effectively.This feature, called ‘psychological safety’, has many upsides. More than that, it is changing the workplace in surprising ways.Some people keep their guard up at work, but experts say the more you can express yourself, the more creative and productive you'll be.

Why safety beats talent :It can be hard to speak out at work or disagree with a colleague. In some environments, there is a real risk of being embarrassed, rejected or even punished for doing so.  Psychological safety means being able to take those risks safely. “It is being able to share different ideas without feeling ostracised,” explains  a psychologist and researcher on Deakin University in Australia.It covers attitudes and behaviours like being able to talk through issues and point out problems, ask for help or simply be different without feeling rejected. Psychological safety seems like the HR equivalent of a miracle drug, but the way to achieve it seems counterintuitive. In teams where ‘groupthink’ is dominant or where making and acknowledging mistakes is costly, workers tend to strengthen their individual position and appear less vulnerable to their peers.

Psychological safety is particularly important for bringing out the best in a diverse workforce – it has  to come from the top down - otherwise you'll be in a precarious comfort situation on the job.  Some group leaders may incline more towards making their teams feel safer, if they have personality traits like empathy or willingness to listen. Still, psychological safety is not something that happens by chance — there are things leaders can do to encourage it.In Dennis’ view, leaders should examine the way they exert power and influence. An imposing boss, who resents questioning or needs the last word, tends to make groups rather unsafe. In many cases, he says, change needs to start at the top. “Part of the exploration of a good leader is to understand the drivers of their ego.”

Another feature of psychological safety is accepting failure. The Silicon Valley attitude of tolerating errors or even celebrating them seems a healthier way to go than condemning them. “Groups where mistakes are not frowned upon are more psychologically safe,” says Newman.The key is enabling people to speak honestly. It is an effort worth making.

It is tough understanding feelings and emotions – yet if one could not read what the other member sitting on next desk or a couple of desks not noticing one feeling bad, sounds baffling.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Nov. 2018.
PS: excerpted from BBC

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