Which situation do you think is conducive to doing your best work: a team that criticizes your ideas and gives you a sense of being in constant competition? Or a team that encourages you to take risks and picks you up when your ideas fail? Like most people, you’d probably choose the second option—and you’d be backed by science! Studies show that the top attribute shared by high-performing teams is psychological safety, or whether team members “feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable with each other”. The problem is that many of us aren’t sure how to start creating a sense of psychological safety in our teams or how to build time for it into our already-packed work schedules.
In this short talk I’ll share my best practices for creating psychological safety based on my experience leading design and research teams over the past five years. You’ll learn the three stages of psychological safety based on your team’s comfort level with vulnerability, as well as several exercises that you can use during each stage. Many of these exercises can be done in existing meeting or as quick regular check-ins, making them perfect for those who are crunched for time.
Since this is a talk about being vulnerable, I’ll also share with you not only what’s worked well but also what failed, so that you can learn from my mistakes. Whether you’re a manager or an individual contributor, you’ll come away from this talk with practical methods you can immediately put into practice to improve your team’s sense of psychological safety.
About the speakers
Jenny has been working as a designer since 2005 and has led UX teams in multiple startups and enterprise software companies, including Citrix and Splunk in San Francisco, and Trustpilot in Copenhagen, Denmark. As a consultant, she helps companies build better products through facilitating design workshops, creating and testing early stage product designs, and coaching individual designers. Since 2014 she has also introduced undergraduate students to her love of design by teaching UX courses at California College of the Arts and University of California Berkeley.