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The Culture of Feedback

I recently joined a very interesting Coaching Pathway on the topic of Feedback Excellence (I also co-created this pathway and learned by being a participant). And one session in this pathway was dedicated to building a Culture of Feedback in your team and company.

The model of 4 stages of psychological safety [[#Notes from: 4 Stages of Psychological Safety]] combined 6 great questions to Establish Psychological Safety provide a really powerful tool that can be used by leader to systematically work on nurturing Psychological Safety in their teams.

Short overview on the 4 Stages of Psychological Safety

  • Stage 1 - Inclusion Safety - feel included
  • Stage 2 - Safety to learn, make oneself vulnerable, and make mistakes - feel safe to learn
  • Stage 3 - Provide contributor safety - feel safe to contribute
  • Stage 4 - Democratize innovation by fostering challenger safety - feel safe to challenge status quo

Screenshot taken during the live cohort workshop

  • Contributor Safety is connected with Situational Leadership - see Agile 2 and Leadership
  • Interesting connection between curiosity and clarity
    • it needs a challenger (for too many new ideas) and also the innovator (bringing in new ideas)
    • connection with Pioneer, Settler, Townplanner
      • [[GCHQ_Boiling_Frogs_Highlights.pdf]]

        Short overview on the Six Questions to establish psychological safety

Where to use the Six Questions?

  • from perspective of a team leader - you can build Psychological Safety e.g.
    • in one-on-ones
    • in a retrospective
    • maybe a slack bot - and spontanuous
    • e.g. in a weekly session - bring in one reflective question
  • just planting the seed and let people answer that over time

A vale of combining both tools

You can learn about each team members current level of psychological safety and then work with the 6 questions to understand what might be next steps to further establish psychological safety.

Next action for myself

Actually use the 6 questions to reflect about myself and bring this back to my leads … it is also a great tool for self reflection tool

Notes from: 4 Stages of Psychological Safety

4 Stages

  • Inclusion Safety - feel included
  • Safety to learn, make oneself vulnerable, and make mistakes - feel safe to learn
  • Provide contributor safety - feel safe to contribute
  • Democratize innovation by fostering challenger safety - feel safe to challenge status quo

Introduction Source

  • It’s simple: an inclusive environment doesn’t just happen – it takes effort.
  • requires that the team leader or coach provide psychological safety

Chapter 1: To create inclusion safety, make sure team members feel unconditionally included from the very beginning. Source

  • inclusion safety, is a prerequisite for everything else.
  • acknowledgment that everyone deserves respect and therefore deserves to be included
  • on: Why do you choose to include some people and not other
  • le. We tell ourselves that our differences are a reason for conflict, not celebra
  • t’s a way of compensating for things we’re insecure a
  • on. Think about who you include and exclude. Now ask yourself why? What biases or prejudices might be at play h
  • ep, ask a close friend or acquaintance about your unconscious bias
  • the next stage of psychological safety: the safety to learn, make oneself vulnerable, and make mistakes in the pro

Chapter 2: To provide learner safety, create an environment where failure isn’t just accepted – it’s rewarded. Source

  • because the all-too-authoritarian manager might criticize them
  • Learner safety consists of two powerful levers. First, minimize the feeling that being wrong is bad. And second, minimize the expectation that feedback only happens as punishment.
  • he sees the students as humans, recognizes the immense risk they take by entering the calculus classroom in the first place, and then rewards it
  • is failure punished or rewarded? Do you encourage employees to make mistakes, or are errors a cause for shame? 

Chapter 3: To provide contributor safety, get to know your team, limit your tell-to-ask ratio, and help colleagues think beyond their roles. Source

  • get the opportunity to put their learnings into practice. And for that, you need contributor safety. 

  • If you consistently deliver results, you’ll be trusted to do your thing.
  • First, get to know your team’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • You need to be able to discern whether to trust someone’s abilities or not.
  • here’s really no need for you to be the one to provide the questions and the answers. Instead, let your colleagues figure it out. Listen first. And if they seem stuck or are missing something, well, that’s what learner safety is for! They can ask for help, and you can gladly provide it – by talking last.
  • share the bigger picture and let your team collaborate.
  • help colleagues think strategically outside of their own roles. A

Chapter 4: Democratize innovation by fostering challenger safety. Source

  • last stage is challenger safety,
  • Each unknown can be a source of stress – so try to eliminate as many unknowns for your team members to make it less stressful to voice criticism.
  • concrete steps you can take to encourage challenging the status quo
  • encourage dissent from the beginning – assign it! Charge a few people, or everyone, with finding problems in projects, initiatives, or other topics
  • Make sure that less-experienced and less-senior members have a chance to train higher-status employees so they can practice interacting outside of the traditional hierarchy.
  • some of your employees might be neurodivergent. This means that they have variations in learning, mood, or attention
  • perceiving these variations so that you can recognize which members need what type of safety when
  • ensure everyone feels safe to voice constructive criticism without the terror of negative consequences

Chapter 5: Final summary Source

  • Cultivate learner safety by encouraging and rewarding people for making mistakes and asking questions (remember the calculus teacher!). Get to know your colleagues. Decide what type of contributor safety they need to participate, and when it’s a good idea to provide it. And, finally, remember: innovation won’t happen by sticking with the status quo – you need challenger safety.

Notes from Courageous Cultures

Introduction Source

  • To encourage employees to speak up, you need to help them feel safe and supported. (connect to contributor safety)

Chapter 1: In today’s increasingly automated world, creating a courageous culture is vital for growth. Source

  • However, if managers don’t have the proper culture set up to receive those ideas, the company will squander its most valuable asset: the minds of its employees.
  • Studies show that one in three employees get money from contracts and freelance projects – and just under half of college students said they would rather be entrepreneurs than employees.
  • You’ll have:

    • microinnovators<div><hr></div> – people who always look for small but effective ways to make things better, easier, or faster.

    • problem solvers<div><hr></div> – who treat the workplace like their own company and try to find solutions.

    • customer advocates<div><hr></div> are always working to meet clients’ needs.

Chapter 2: Replacing a toxic culture with a courageous one will give employees the confidence to share their ideas. Source

  • Why don’t people speak up at work?
    • their managers don’t value innovation and that their ideas won’t have an impact.
    • diffusion of responsibility; they think someone else will say something,
  • “courage crushers?” These are toxic behaviors like shaming others for speaking up, blaming them when things go wrong, or trying to intimidate them when they point out something you don’t want to hear

Chapter 3: Find the right mix of curiosity and clarity, and your employees will reward you with great new ideas. Source

  • Find the right mix of curiosity and clarity, and your employees will reward you with great new ideas. 
  • curious about things, they’re constantly trying to figure out new ways to improve.
  • clarity is when management is transparent about goals, processes, and roles.
  • need to find a balance on the clarity–curiosity
  • building a courage map. Make a timeline of your career, and identify three examples of when you were courageous.

Chapter 4: When managers show gratitude and invite employees to participate, everyone benefits. Source

  • What if bosses were constructive and supported those who offered new ideas?  Well, according to one study, people in such companies are 12 times more likely to recommend their firm as an employer.
  • when you have an employee brave enough to report an inefficient process or a failing protocol, recognize the courage and time it took them to voice their concern
  • If you can’t use their idea, explain why. 
  • with a bad idea, coach them through the situation.
  • idea path
  • Where do you start? Who needs to get involved? What permissions and processes will it take? By the end, the employee will understand their idea’s life cycle.
  • clearly articulating your company’s goals. This will give staff room to innovate with purpose. 

Chapter 5: Don’t just replicate great solutions – instead, tailor their core principles to your work. Source

  • How does tailoring core principles of a great idea work in practice?
  • teaching their employees to show empathy.
  • create ownership and pride in their employees

Chapter 6: To build infrastructure for courage, hire the right people and train them well. Source

  • To build infrastructure for courage, hire the right people and train them well. 
    • “How did you overcome a problem at work?”
    • “How did you handle a time when you disagreed with your manager?”
    • “What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?”
    • “How do you encourage employees when they come to you with ideas?” 
  • Encourage and regularly give feedback; you might even consider implementing a reward system to promote communication.
  • Always be clear about fundamental values – and about who is responsible for what.
  • Try solutions like encouraging employees and managers to read business books or speak at conferences.
  • skip-level meetings: events at which leaders interact with employees in junior roles.

Chapter 7: Managers should create a culture in which every individual feels seen and heard. Source

  • Managers should create a culture in which every individual feels seen and heard.
  • But if your employees prefer a more nurturing approach, this hands-off strategy might make them feel like you don’t care about them
  • “silent wounded.” They’ve spoken up before and been hurt. Others are the “silent ponderous.” They’re quiet because it takes them a while to work out how to speak up
  • Ask them what their goal is, what they’ve tried, and what happened as a result.

Chapter 8: Final summary Source

  • IDEA approach to check whether what they’re offering is feasible. In this acronym, I stands for Interesting, D for Doable, E for Engaging, and A for Actions


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