This is our fourth Friday in a series on emotional safety. We’re looking at the six strategies of Paul Santagata, Head of Industry at Google. Google did a two year study on high-performing teams, and they found that the number one factor in performance was emotional safety.
John Gottman’s research at the University of Washington shows that blame and criticism reliably escalate conflict, leading to defensiveness and — eventually — to disengagement. The alternative to blame is curiosity. If you believe you already know what the other person is thinking, then you’re not ready to have a conversation. Instead, adopt a learning mindset, knowing you don’t have all the facts.https://hbr.org/2017/08/high-performing-teams-need-psychological-safety-heres-how-to-create-it
Adapting Google’s technique for our home, we might do this with the following steps.
- State the problem factually: You haven’t completed your chores. Notices this is the fact of the situation without assuming the other person’s motivations. For example, this is not the same as: Since you are being lazy and don’t care to contribute, you haven’t been helping out around the house.
- Engage in exploration: I don’t want to assume the reason, and there may be multiple reasons…can we figure this out together?
- Ask for solutions: Your child may be the best person to figure out the solution, and doing so can be empowering. You might ask “what would be the ideal solution to you?” or “how can I support you?”
By assuming the best in others, we can empower them to be their best. This can be hard, especially when we as parents/guardians have to repeat ourselves a lot. Still, if we can adopt an attitude of curiosity, we might be able to get to the heart of the matter more quickly.