In a study called ‘Project Aristotle’, Google wanted to know the secret to building a productive team.
Their data-driven approach concluded that the best teams:
- respect one another’s emotions; and
- are mindful of one other.
It has less to do with who is in a team; rather it is about how the team interacts with one another.
At the heart of Google’s strategy is the concept of ‘psychological safety’ a model of team work in which ‘members have a shared belief that it is safe to take risks and share a range of ideas without the fear of being humiliated’.
In 1989, Stephen Covey said the same thing in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: members of productive teams take the effort to understand each other, find a way to relate to each other, and then try to make themselves understood.
Harvard professor Amy Edmondson in her study concluded that psychological safety boosted performance in teams.
Google now describes psychological safety as the most important factor to building a successful team.
In short, just be nice.