For teams to succeed, their members must feel safe. Studies show that psychological safety allows for openness, moderate risk-taking, and creativity (Tweet it!). In order to achieve breakthroughs, people need to take chances—but that won't happen if they fear rejection or ridicule.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Laura DeLizzona, PhD, an instructor at Stanford University, notes that one of the best strategies for making co-workers feels safe—and therefore innovative and productive—is to replace blame with curiosity. “If team members sense that you’re trying to blame them for something, you become their saber-toothed tiger,” she says.
While blame leads to defensiveness and disengagement, curiosity indicates a learning mindset. Maybe you don’t have all the facts, so:
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