Psychological Safety in Small Group

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Psychology safety, an important element in small group and teamwork success

Psychological safety is an instinctive response that demonstrates vulnerability without fear of negative consequences on one’s image or career. Google defined it as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.

Google’s Project Aristotle

In 2012 Google ran a project known as Project Aristotle. They surveyed hundreds of employees and more than 100 teams in the company.

The data indicated that the mix of personality, skills, or backgrounds made NO difference in the team’s success or efficiency.

What made the best team is its psychological safety

The most successful teamwork had two distinct characters; sensitivity and listening with one another. In short, team members who felt safe sharing their thoughts and feelings without the fear of prejudice solved better problems together.

A Google manager tested it by opening about his cancer diagnosis. The successful team demonstrated empathy by sharing their personal stories as well.

Sensitivity and listening with one another.

Applying ‘psychological safety’ in church

Mega-church CCF that began in the Philippines proves that small groups are critical in expanding the church. The success of a church team hinges on the following:

  • Faithful doctrine without an apology.
  • Workings of the Holy Spirit.
  • Humble servanthood.
  • Psychological safety.

“open up” without the fear of prejudice

Successful teamwork in the Bible

Although Google is known for its liberal and left-leaning ideology, what they discovered is spot on. The Bible gives the same, if not a better way to have a successful team.

Philippians 2:3-4
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.

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