Seeing this picture below in an article gave me a light-bulb moment this morning (from this article: https://hbr.org/2018/04/the-two-traits-of-the-best-problem-solving-teams).

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Google’s Project Oxygen on Safety
I was already aware of Google’s Project Oxygen..it had clearly articulated the need for Leaders to establish psychological safety in teams. It turned out that a ‘coaching mindset’ is the most useful to achieve that..after all, proven by their finding that the most important Manager behavior is ‘to be a good coach’. (https://rework.withgoogle.com/guides/managers-coach-managers-to-coach/steps/introduction/)


Cognitive diversity

The cognitive diversity axis is equally exciting..it really outlines the importance of Leaders to challenge their own ‘in group’ bias and find team members who simply think differently. StrengthsFinder is for example a great tool to unearth cognitive diversity and make it actionable.


The message?
Diversity of thought is powerful, but can lead to conflicts (“I hired you because you are different, but fired you because you are not the same!”).

It is the presence of psychological safety in teams that allows people to really make the best of their unique talents and let them shine.

Both have to be present, otherwise get either a uniform team that feels safe, but is poor in diverse thinking. Or we end up with a team of diverse characters where it is not safe to speak up and differences are seen as threats.

Best, Maik