With the epidemic in health care of overwork, stress, and burnout, psychological safety is a crucial factor in achieving the highest levels of quality of care and quality of work environment. While simple in concept, psychological safety is also quite fragile and needs careful attention on a day-to-day and conversation-to-conversation basis to assure it. Psychological safety means that people feel safe to speak up about concerns, new ideas, negative feelings, and ...

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Having been an improvement advisor with many quality improvement initiatives and collaboratives, I have observed that stories about successful initiatives too often leave out major relational barriers that got in the way as well as the critical interventions necessary to overcome them. That important details about relational challenges so often remain hidden is not a small problem. Evidence points to relational issues as a major cause of lack of expected success ...

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While “trust” sounds like it would be an inherently good thing to have between two people or in a team, that is not always the case. Depending on what “trust” means to you, it can also be harmful at times. While it may not at first seem pertinent, driving in traffic can be a helpful metaphor for understanding different definitions of trust in the workplace. A couple of years ago, I was ...

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I discovered one of the most important leadership challenges in my first leadership position supervising a staff of doctors and nurses at a hospital: Being able to see our own contribution to problems. I was confident, having been hired because of my skills developing teams. But, shortly after I started, the team began struggling with what I call “reactivity”: behaviors counterproductive for goals and collaboration. Examples included people getting stuck in arguments ...

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