Safety First: Creating a Sense of Psychological Safety in Your Design Team

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, Jenny shares her 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. 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.

This talk was recorded for the 2020 Information Architecture Conference, which was held virtually.

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