4 Keys to Successful Teamwork

Would you believe that research has shown that teams who make more errors are better performing than teams with few errors? Or at least teams who admit to making more errors perform better.

I know it sounds strange, but Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson found just that.

Edmondson realized that medical teams reporting more medication errors were better performing because of the environment they had created for themselves, one of psychological safety.

This is the notion that team members feel comfortable to ask questions, share mistakes and ideas without fear of being punished or embarrassed by peers and managers alike.

If your team does not have a solid feeling of psychological safety, you could be missing out on groundbreaking ideas coming from the group!

Differing opinions and ideas can be a huge asset; when you have a climate of psychological safety your team will own up to their mistakes, be open to more ideas, and work better together!

Wondering how you can create psychological safety in your workspace? I have some tips for you.

1. Admit Your Mistakes

As the leader, it is your responsibility to create a solid level of comfort in the workplace, and the best way to make others feel confident in sharing ideas is to eliminate the fear of failure.

Tell subordinates and peers about a time when you made a mistake or ask them to speak up in case you miss something; it is vital that you set the tone for the group by being open.

2. Find Common Interests

At the start of a meeting encourage everyone to find three things they have in common (non-work related) with one another then try to find three things the whole group shares in common. Making connections will build trust and relationships among the team.

3. Be Available

Shortening lines of communication and encouraging team members to drop by your office will open you up to more input.

Encourage your team to ask for help and clarification, share errors and search for the solutions together! Remind them that reporting errors does not equate to poor performance.

4. Develop a Culture of Healthy Conflict

By encouraging team members to disagree and share concerns, you will open lines of communication and create a positive environment for different ideas.

It’s okay to discuss those ¨Elephant in the room¨ topics if you enable those with opposing ideas to work it out, and get involved with this process! While taking these actions are great first steps, it’s important to remember that they are just a start.

The path to achieving high productivity from a psychologically safe work environment can be challenging and should only be sought after when the leader is ready to make the commitment.

A true commitment relies on a leader willing to see the process through with the help of an experienced guide.

We Can Help!

If you’re curious about the level of psychological safety your team has check out my Holy Grail of Teamwork to assess your group now. Schedule a consultation, give me a call at 972-701-9311, or email me at

POSTED ON: Strategy and Vision