Teams are often where real production happens and where employees experience most of their work. Understanding team effectiveness involves looking at complex dynamics and demographics.

The quality of one’s relationship with one’s teammates can have a huge impact on performance, engagement, and innovativeness. Researchers have been looking at what makes team effective for years, and the many possible dysfunctions of teams are well documented. One idea that has been growing in popularity is that teams that can trust one another, that allow for questioning, risk taking, and mistakes, perform better. The idea is called psychological safety and it’s been studied in office workers, hospital nurses, and even astronauts.

Astronauts in training: Building trust and open feedback channels

On the 2.5-years-long Mars mission, it will take 22 minutes to send a message from Earth to the spaceship and then 22 more minutes to respond. To deal with these types of hurdles, NASA trains space and ground crews extensively on communication skills.

“Houston, this is Station...”: Mission-critical communication for teams

“CAPCOMs can really make your day.” This simple journal entry by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) shows just how important communication can be to the success of a team orbiting hundreds of miles above the Earth.

A bit of self-reflection can help us become our best selves

To become our better selves it helps to visualize our best selves. Research shows that by reflecting on the type of people we want to be, we wind up feeling more psychological safety and elevating not only our own performance, but that of our entire team.
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