Building a Lean Culture through Psychological Safety: the role of Leadership

Building and growing a Lean Culture on a team or in an organization requires establishing a positive team climate of psychological safety.

“Positive team climate is the most important driver of psychological safety and most likely to occur when leaders demonstrate supportive, consultative behaviors, then begin to challenge their teams.” McKinsey’s research reports, summarizing a 2017 Study by Frazier, et. al.

“By setting the tone for the team climate through their own actions, team leaders have the strongest influence on a team’s psychological safety. Moreover, creating a positive team climate can pay additional dividends during a time of disruption.”

The Frazier study found that when leaders are both consultative and supportive they maximize the creation of a positive team climate (see McKinsey chart).

How many leaders – at all levels – display these behaviors? The survey numbers tell us that “few leaders display the behaviors that can instill psychological safety.” McKinsey’s “findings suggest that focusing on a handful of specific skills and behaviors in [leadership-development] learning programs can improve the likelihood of positive leadership behaviors that foster psychological safety and, ultimately, of strong team performance.

Read the full, well-referenced article here for tips on the specifics of “how”.

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