3 Key Steps to Cultivate Courageous Teams in Every Workplace


In our last post, we explored the differences between courage and conformity – and why courage is central to the workplace of the future. I explained that in order to cultivate a courageous workplace, three key ingredients are essential.

Here, I’ll break down the three steps every organization needs to inspire courage in all team members. Let’s jump right in…

Step 1: From a Hierarchical to Inclusive Workplace

To create an environment where team members can be more courageous, teams will have to step away from hierarchical approaches to leadership where a few leaders at the top are relied on to make all the significant decisions. 

It’s a shift away from a controlling style of leadership where those central people exert power over others, instead of sharing power with others, to drive everything that happens in the business.

Step 2: Build Connection Among Team Members

Connection is the first human workplace need in my book, The Deeply Human Workplace. Connection is absolutely core and central to our humanity. (Want to dive deeper into this topic? Check out my book on Amazon.com.)

Connection is about the need to belong and feel loved. While that may sound “soft” in the corporate workplace, it is anything but! 

The reality is that when people feel connected, they trust others, take more risks in conversation, engage in productive conflict, and move faster to decisions with less drama and politics. 

It makes sense that as they become more open to operating from a place of positive intent, and speak up when speaking up matters most, that connection cultivates a courageous atmosphere. 

Step 3: Create Certainty in the Workplace Through Safety

When organizations meet the human workplace need of connection, they can create Certainty, the next level of our human workplace needs model. Certainty is the outcome of a safe environment — both physically and psychologically.

Psychological safety measures interpersonal trust and respect among people at work that allows them to take social risks. Harvard organizational behavioral scientist Amy Edmondson first introduced the construct of “team psychological safety,” defining it as “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.”

Edmondson clearly describes psychological safety as a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up about ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. At some point in our careers, we’ve all seen or heard of people being punished or humiliated in the workplace.

It can be devastating to the person as well as to the overall workplace culture. When people feel safe, creativity thrives. New ideas emerge. Safety allows people’s unique ideas and perspectives to shine through.

When people feel both physically and psychologically safe in their workplace, they are much more likely to be courageous in their conversations. 

Courage, Not Conformity, is What Creates Winning Teams

The workplace of the future will rely on people from different teams to work together, experiment, and then adjust their approach based on what they learn.

Conformity will put teams at risk. 

Courage, on the other hand, will be a virtue.

12 or 24 months from now, as you look back on your team’s progress, you will be more disappointed by your team’s inaction than by the actions your team took. 

Ask yourself: How are your teams creating an environment that encourages courage over conformity? 

Team leadership has become a unique landscape in the last few years with remote offices, hybrid workspaces and staffing challenges. Could you use a dose of inspiration for leading a virtual team?

Check out the Leading Virtual Teams with Inspiration Toolkit from 5.12 Solutions – https://512solutions.com/leading-virtual-teams-toolkit/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *