Professional Essays Writer Leveraging Diversity Through Psychological Safety

Amy C. Edmondson, Kathryn S. Roloff

Leadership & Managing People

When interpersonal risks loom large in the moment, human beings often fail to act in their own or in their organization’s best interest. When uncertainty clouds peoples’ tentative thoughts and views – views that may be at odds with those of others’ – they often take the path of ‘reduced interpersonal resistance’ to avoid conflict and confrontation. This can happen when a lot is at stake (a patient’s health, an aircraft’s safety, a costly takeover) and when not much is at stake (a small improvement idea is not communicated to the individual who could act on it). Either way, the silence, along with the incomplete thoughts that lie behind it, inhibits team learning in organizations that depend upon such learning for their ongoing viability. As a result, in virtually every organization, failed collaboration occurs countless times throughout the day, usually without much conscious attention. Diversity of three particular types exacerbates these tendencies. The authors explain how ‘psychological safety’ can enable team diversity to be better and leveraged, allowing a team to reap the benefits associated with diverse sets of skills, experience, knowledge and backgrounds in ways that would not be possible if team members were unwilling to take the risks associated with speaking up.

Diversity, Leadership, Personnel policies


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