Psychological safety: The key to successful teams


Psychological safety: The key to successful teams

March 28 / 2023

In 2012 Google conducted an extensive two-year study of 180 of its teams. Its purpose was to find out how the best equipment worked.

Dubbed Project Aristotle, the study showed that the success of a team depends on how it works, not who it is made up of. Individual team members are not as important as we might assume.

The team may have the best professionals; however, the achievement of objectives will depend on the performance standards by which it is governed. Psychological safety was the critical differentiating component of the top performing teams.

Importance of psychological safety

Of the successful teams in the study, not all worked in the same way. There were those who were loyal to a traditional bureaucracy and those whose approach was more egalitarian. However, none of them were autocratically led by a team leader. 

What all these successful teams had in common, regardless of how they operated, was that team members felt their ideas and input were valued. 

This is called psychological safety. It also includes social sensitivity. It occurs when managers engage with their team members to ask how they are doing or if they need to reduce their excessive workload for a while.

Such sensitivity may involve managers reaching out to employees to ask how they feel in a general sense, or it may entail managers keeping an eye out for when their employees are overworked and need a lighter workload for a period of time.

Know that you matter

As professionals, we all want to feel valued by our peers and superiors. It is very important that they recognize our work and appreciate our daily efforts. 

It helps to reinforce self-esteem. It also reduces the risk of burnout, stress or other mental health problems. Working like this, with a positive frame of mind, inadvertently drives us to improve our productivity. 

Work stress: a problem to tackle

As we have just indicated, psychological safety reduces the risk of suffering work-related stress. According to the World Health Organization, millions of work days are lost annually due to anxiety, depression and stress. 

The economic losses generated have led companies to establish strategies aimed at promoting wellbeing in the workplace. It goes beyond just worrying about improving their job performance.

It involves taking their health seriously. It can even act as a lifeguard. For example, with respect to hypertension, work stress sometimes makes it worse. This increases the chances of suffering heart attacks and strokes if left untreated. 

Meditation to cope with stress

It is effective in combating this physical and emotional tension to have a relaxed relationship with other people. Also getting lost in nature or practicing gardening activities. 

Mindful meditation has also proven to be a very valid option. Thanks to it, it is possible to change useless thoughts, moving away from negative thought patterns. 

A study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that just eight weeks of mindfulness meditation produced an improvement in people’s brains.

For meditation, Harvard Health Publications offers these tips for beginners:

  • Choose an appropriate place and time. There should be no distractions or interruptions.
  • Get in the most comfortable position. It will be the best way to relax. 
  • The mental attitude has to be as calm and passive as possible. It may take a while, but with willpower everything comes together.
  • Concentrate on a mental resource, either a mantra or a word repeated with rhythm and constancy as a chant. 
  • A stress-free professional sees their work life differently. They can even take a better look at how they are really valued by their peers and bosses and thus gain greater psychological security.
  • Dedicate fifteen to twenty minutes a day. You will notice positive changes in a short time. 

At Cloudworks we are very concerned about the wellbeing of our cloudworkers. That is why we try to ensure that our locations have the necessary spaces to de-stress. 

The kitchens, cafeterias and, above all, the terraces of our coworking centers in Madrid and Barcelona are the ideal place for this. 

These terraces are enjoyed both by those who take a break from their usual workday and by those who need a breath of air and good views to clear their minds and spirits after many hours of work overload.

An ideal place to relax while contemplating some of the best views of the city. The Cloudworks terraces are also the perfect place to socialize with other people over a coffee or free their mind by participating in one of the many events for cloudworkers.Want to learn more about our activities for community members? Do not hesitate to contact us!

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