Psychological Safety

With Nina Sunday

Build an emotionally intelligent team for operational excellence

What one attribute sets apart high-performing teams?

In its quest to build the perfect team, Google's People Analytics division established Project Aristotle to identify key attributes of successful and effective teams. By matching observations and group dynamics of over 180 teams across the company against findings of decades of academic studies, Google targeted precisely which qualities make the best teams.

The research team identified psychological safety as one of the key characteristics. Harvard Business School Professor, Amy Edmondson, first referred to psychological safety in 1999 as 'confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up'. Google further defined it as a team that demonstrates characteristics of conversational equity and social sensitivity. 

How can managers ensure team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other? Start by replacing blame with curiosity.

  • Create a conscious workplace culture where key attributes of psychological safety are the norm.
  • Avoid the ripple effect of belittling, sarcasm, blaming or incivility which hijacks focus.
  • Make it easy for people to speak up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.
  • Understand five key dysfunctional team behaviours and transform them into five positive behaviours.
  • How can Managers build an emotionally intelligent team where operational excellence is the result.

Nina Sunday is a speaker, author and coach on transforming team culture. Founder of, she leads a team of facilitators delivering essential workplace skills. A twice Certified Virtual Presenter and past Chapter President of Professional Speakers Australia, Nina hosts management podcast, 'Manage Self, Lead Others' on C-Suite Radio, interviewing experts on self-leadership and leading people. Her second book, 'Workplace Wisdom for 9 to Thrive' is a selection of the C-Suite Network Book Club.