Crafting Strong and Dynamic Teams: Mindset, Safety, and Motivation
11-minute read
Published 25, Sep 2023
The success of an organization is often determined by the strength and dynamism of its teams. As managers, it's our responsibility to cultivate an environment where our teams can thrive. Drawing from the insights of Carol Dweck, Dr. Amy Edmondson, and Daniel Pink, let's discuss the key ingredients for creating and managing robust teams.

Embrace the Power of "Yet"

Carol Dweck introduced  the world to the "growth mindset." The book is worth reading, but the approach that caught my attention, and I believe it's essential to implement being a people manager and coaching a team, is the Power of "Yet." In her TED talk, Dweck says:
I heard about a high school in Chicago where students had to pass a certain number of courses to graduate, and if they didn't pass a course, they got the grade "Not Yet." And I thought that was fantastic, because if you get a failing grade, you think, I'm nothing, I'm nowhere. But if you get the grade "Not Yet" you understand that you're on a learning curve. It gives you a path into the future.
It's a subtle shift but think about it.
"Not Yet" isn't about failure; it's about potential.
It's a promise of growth and improvement. So, next time you see a team member struggling, remind them (and yourself) of the magic of "yet." It's not about where you are now but where you're headed. Cultivate a Safe Space for Ideas Dr. Amy Edmondson's emphasizes the importance of psychological safety in today's knowledge economy:
The ability for people to come to work and speak up about what they know, what they don't know, what they see, what they're worried about is absolutely mission-critical to success in a knowledge economy.
Even at Google, teaming with brilliant minds, the standout factor for top-performing teams wasn't IQ but psychological safety. In a bustling knowledge economy, you're missing out on game-changing ideas if your team members bite their tongues. Also, leaders play a crucial role in establishing psychological safety. You can drive positive change by acknowledging mistakes and creating an environment where all team members feel safe to speak up.
An apology from a manager, acknowledging past oversights, is a powerful tool in fostering psychological safety.
Rethink Motivation As the biggest fan of implementing value, purpose, and impact into daily work, I was blessed to dive into Daniel Pink's groundbreaking model of motivation. The main idea is to forget the outdated "carrots and sticks" approach and implement Intrinsic Motivation knowledge into the management routine. Today's teams thrive on autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Give them the freedom to chart their course, the tools to hone their skills, and, most importantly, a reason to care. It's not about the paycheck at the end of the month but the impact they make every single day. Daniel says:
The secret to high performance isn't our biological drive or our reward-and-punishment drive, but our third drive—our deep-seated desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to make a contribution.
So in brief
  • Start by instilling a growth mindset in your team, and use "Not Yet" as a reason to grow.
  • Lay the foundation of psychological safety.
  • Encourage open dialogue, value feedback, and remember – there's immense Power in admitting mistakes.
  • Give team members the autonomy to make decisions, the resources to master their craft, and a purpose that resonates.
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