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Psychological safety is not about being nice

Daniel Goleman wrote this week in an HBR article with regards to emotional intelligence: "...one of the most persistent things I see people get wrong about the concept is that it equates to being “nice.” But it doesn’t, and misunderstanding this can get people into trouble."

Some people have the same misunderstanding about psychological safety.

If team members misinterpret safety to be about prioritizing each other's happiness over all else, this might result in a seemingly pleasant work environment. When staff suppresses legitimate concerns with what others are either doing or proposing to do to avoid coming across as being unpleasant it can lead to issues such as:

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