Do you feel (a little bit) unnerved? Zoom in on video-conferencing!

Amy Edmondson argues that if your team feels safe and secure, it will be able to tackle complex situations together. But perhaps you think that concerns about Covid have thrown it off balance? Well, think again: the problem may well lie elsewhere.

Your teams are managing to deal with fears about the virus, with individual members giving themselves permission to speak openly about a situation that we’re all in together, which makes it more bearable. The real destabilizing factor lies elsewhere, however, in remote communication. Video-conferencing forces everyone to be direct and explicit. It leaves no room for sharing incomplete ideas, asking off-topic questions or thinking out loud – all of which can be very fruitful and help the entire team move forward.

· Remember that you are all operating in an uncertain environment. It is healthy to ask questions, to be uncertain, to make mistakes, to backtrack and to have to change plan along the way. It’s also healthy to share your own doubts!

· Ask your colleagues even more questions, such as: What do you think? Are we missing something important? Be careful to solicit everyone’s view and to go round the table in the traditional manner.

· Follow through on your responsibilities. You’ve collected your team’s questions and opinions, and now it’s up to you to act and to provide support, answers and explanations – or, at the very least – to take account of their input.

When you’re all alone in front of your PC screen, you need to keep an eye on your own inner speech. If you’re someone who tends to chew things over, you should force yourself to take a more measured look at the situation and refocus on the impact your contribution makes.

Find out more:« Amy Edmondson on the power of psychological safety in distributed work »Dropbox blog, Anthony Wing Kosner, March, 27, 2020.