Great (non-gender specific) balls of fire!

Do you have them?

Hand to heart – or little down the south, rather. Do you?

Courage, guts, bravery, openness, boldness, being straight-forward -are these traits that describe you? Moreover, do you take these with you to work every day? And if you do how do your peers, colleagues, bosses react to it? Are you being looked at in awe or considered to be the one on a kamikaze mission? Is it something others copy or value or afraid of and see you as someone always looking for trouble or as a conflict-monger?

What does it take for an individual to speak his/her mind at work? Well, it depends on a lot of things, I hear you say.

I agree, but in our experience it mainly depends on whether the organization’s culture provides the psychological safety to its employees to excercise courageous behavior. Such an organization supports open discussions, does not force ‘peace above all’. Answering to questionnaires does not require anonimity. Feedbacks are given judiciously, promptly and in a constructive way. Feedbacks are reciprocal and appreciated. Employees are requested to speak up if they find something that is not serving the ultimate purpose: giving the best service to clients. Processes, ‘the way we do things around here’ can be questioned, reevaluated. New ways of working are regularly given a chance. In a psychologically safe environment people are not forced to cover up mistakes big or small. They come forward to say ‘ I screwed up’ and are encouraged to seek alternative ways to fix it. People -on all levels of the hierarchy- are able to apologize publicly without losing face. Actually it is considered to be part of their authenticity and integrity. In such an environment true transparent meritocracy flourishes. (And it does not get mixed up by: ‘well, he was here first; let’s wait until her child is older, so we don’t risk sick-leaves; as an HR person you shouldn’t ask for raise let’s keep it humble; he hasn’t received bonus two years in a row -now it is his time’, etc.) Brilliant but toxic jerks are let go.

At a psychologically safe workplace it is not only OK to have successes but they are celebrated openly and loudly. All contributors are lauded and their experiences are shared all around, with clients even.

Territoriality, silos lose meaning and leading beyond authority is an everyday practice. Vertical escalation is replaced by open horizontal discussions. Formal and informal networks are fostered through initiatives and interests that strengthen the social fabric of the company.

As you can see benevolent but courageous communication is key on all levels of the organization.

So, do you recognize your own company’s culture to be this courageous ? Do YOU have the balls?

Not yet? Now you know what to ask Santa for this Xmas.