Hierarchy reduces psychological safety

What they had discovered was that even the extremely smart, high-powered employees at Google needed a psychologically safe work environment to contribute the talents they had to offer.

For over a century, we’ve focused too much on relentless execution and depended too much on fear to get things done. That era is over.

Speaking up is only the first step. The true test is how leaders respond when people actually do speak up. Stage setting and inviting participation indeed build psychological safety. But if a boss responds with anger or disdain as soon as someone steps forward to speak up about a problem, the safety will quickly evaporate. A productive response must be appreciative, respectful, and offer a path forward.

Some insights given by Amy C. Edmondson in her book The Fearless Organization about what it takes to enable the creative and adaptive behaviors required in complex and dynamic environments.

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