What's the point of a psychologically safe team if you can't have a little fun and creativity? And the good news is, you can even be a bit messy - as long as it is done with fun intent and with an objective in hand. Psychological safety is the foundation for any effective team communication, in person or online.
Jargon be gone!
In a psychologically safe team, communication doesn't "communicate". It just is. When there is a natural vitality among and within your team, you don't have to remind yourself how to communicate well because you've done the work. It just feels more natural, unpretentious, and with a lot fewer acronyms!
Don't mistake "mess" for "less"
A team where you feel free to speak up, make a mistake or two, and be considered for the "who" as much as the "what" may present itself as "looser" or less structured. But make no mistake (but if you do, it's ok with us - we are advocates of trying things out, after all), messy doesn't mean less productive, efficient, or goal-oriented. They may just seem that way (and even a bit more fun) because they are truer to our human experience outside of the workplace, too.
But there has to be some trade-off, right?
It depends. If you can keep your psychologically safe team oriented toward the collective objective, you can succeed with little if any compromise required. Be aware, however. It can be a bit of yin/yang. If there is not enough structure, it is more difficult for creativity to get harnessed and operationalized. But the less structured, and messier pathway can be used beautifully to arrive at the “aha!"
Your brain's alarm system
Concerned that maybe defenses may rise from team members, not on the same proverbial page? Great news! As teams in our workshops come to recognize, a defensive reaction is just a moment where something is triggering the part of a person’s brain that detects a threat. Think of it as an internal alarm alerting you before it gets out of hand. When we catch ourselves, we can instead approach the other person’s point of view with curiosity and ask questions to gain more clarity. We might even find that we’re in the same chapter and the pages are quite close after all!
But what about ending the debate?
Good point, indeed! This is where the fun can actually take over. Assign an award for the most innovative (and respectful way) to call time out, "park it" and make sure that the topic in question gets resolved within a specific near-term timeframe. This is where improv really can help because it opens up the space to use a different way to resolve potential conflict and collectively come up with a solution rather than "take sides". But more on that...stay tuned!
The VITAL5 ROUNDUP– Communicationpalooza
1. Jargon's no bargain – say NTA (no to acronyms) as you feel your team talk, connect and feel open to each other like people, not titles.
2. Mess is more – as long as you don't throw away some structure altogether, get messy, and be more open in your team - flexibility opens up the ideas box!
3. Creative doesn't mean unproductive – Balance your team yin with your team yang and enter the communication harmony zone.
4. Don't hit the snooze– feeling something a little defensive or untowardly? Welcome to the human condition. It's an alert - check in and get curious first.
5. Master the debate – don't expect everything to just resolve every meeting but don't expect it to linger either. Acknowledge some things will need more time and attention and work it in.
VitalConex is a connect-and-create company. To learn more about the "peanut butter cup" of successful teams, check us out at www.vitalconex.com