In our previous Mighty Blog we proposed ideas on how to enhance creativity. Before releasing our whole creative potential there is something we have to consider first – are we working in an environment that supports innovation?
Many musicians say that in creative processes you have to produce many bad ideas first to be able to compose a masterpiece. All creative jobs share that. Few first ideas are worth pursuing. It is rare to succeed at first try. To be able to keep on the creative flow and not give up even if first ideas fail, we need support and acceptance from others around us. We need psychological safety.
Psychological safety means that people in a work environment feel safe to put oneself on the line by asking questions or help, seeking feedback, admitting a mistake, or proposing new ideas. You feel like you can trust others around you and others trust you. You feel that your ideas and inputs are appreciated. In psychologically safe working environment people believe that their team supports them and they can seek help, report errors and concerns, reach beyond their limits, and of course, innovate.
Dr. Scott Sherman who is an experienced educator and a trainer for social innovators says that he totally agrees on the importance of psychological safety:
“Almost always when training social innovators we start with the famous 36 question exercise. We want to build an atmosphere of trust and psychological safety.” The 36 question exercise is based on the research of social psychologist Arthur Aron. Read more and try to exercise yourself here!
To strive for innovative culture we need first to create a community where people feel safe to make mistakes. How we can start creating supportive environment? We at Mightifier believe in the power of positive feedback. It’s easier to show your imperfections if you feel appreciated by your team members. By telling people around you what they are good at, what their strengths are, and how their actions have positive impact in your life, you can show your appreciation and participate in creating a supportive environment.
So teachers, trainers and leaders: next time you expect your team to innovate ask yourself have you invested enough in psychological safety?
Edmondson, A. C., Kramer, R. M., & Cook, K. S. (2004). Psychological safety, trust, and learning in organizations: A group-level lens. Trust and distrust in organizations: Dilemmas and approaches, 12, 239-272.