Updated: Jun 1
"Silence, Earthling! My name is Darth Vader." - Marty McFly
It never failed. As she grew and became more verbose, my daughter had a knack for interrupting my wife and I the very moment we tried to start a conversation.
Every. Single. Time.
Calmly we'd ask her to wait for her turn, she would get her opportunity to speak and balance would return if only for a moment.
For the past five days, I have been home, alone and unafraid, with my kids as my wife travels for work. During this period and on no less than a dozen occasions, my son has found his most opportune time to tell me something. Coincidentally, it's at the very moment my daughter and I try to start a conversation.
Each interruption, I calmly asked him to wait for his turn to speak. Each interruption, provoked, my daughter snapped at him, became frustrated, and started to walk away in defeat.
I say started, because I never let her walk away. And I never will. I want her and my son to both value and understand the comfort to speak their minds, share their creativity, and take risks - to, generally, put themselves out there.
I want them to appreciate the importance of that security in their growth and to use it - to build confidence, to build resilience, to build trust. More importantly, I want them to extend that security to others - to be open-minded, to be inspired, to earn trust.
You see, in our home, we work towards a psychologically safe environment characterized by trust, mutual respect, and the comfort of simply being ourselves. This is our norm.
In fact, I work toward this goal in every environment I enter. I want others I collaborate with to do the same. I want my children to mirror these actions. And I want those they collaborate with to do the same.
Why? Because with the shared idea of psychological safety in place, we will establish the goals, roles, and norms needed to be high-performing - as a team, as a family.
Exposing my children to this idea early will make them better so they too can set in place the parameters needed to be high-performing - in their team, in their families.
So, now we know what psychological safety looks like, but how do we get there?
Just know that if your home or workplace conversations resemble mine as do your actions, then you've got pretty good foundation already built.
*In our next two blogs, we'll discuss the importance of psychological safety to high-performing teams and six steps you can put in place to increase that concept in your team.
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