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7 Secrets to Creating a Safe Team

See Eun Kim posted the following about how to create a safe team on the World Race. Principles that apply to most teams elsewhere too: Safe teams are productive teams. They have fun together. In a safe team, everyone is OK just as they are. Yes, team members subscribe to and are accountable to…
By Seth Barnes

See Eun Kim posted the following about how to create a safe team on the World Race. Principles that apply to most teams elsewhere too:

Safe teams are productive teams. They have fun together. In a safe team, everyone is OK just as they are. Yes, team members subscribe to and are accountable to norms, but no one gets judged along the way.

You hear about World Race squads coming home from the field and referring to their squad as a “family.” It begins when a safe environment is created on the team. But how does that happen?

Here are seven principles: 

1. Everyone’s voice is heard

Create the time and space for everyone’s voice to be heard. There will be people who have differing theologies, ideas, strategies, etc. There will be people who are more outspoken than others, verbal or internal processors, and people who just need more time to think before speaking. Respect one another, be patient, and extend grace.

2. Mutual encouragement

There needs to be a balance of give and take. Be careful not to be the one who is constantly pouring out and refuses to be poured into, and on the flip side, do not be the one who is constantly taking from others and feels inadequate to give back. Recognize that each person has something unique to bring to the table. A healthy relationship recognizes the value in one another and is willing to partake in an exchange of pouring out and being poured into.

3. Take initiative

Recognize your personal responsibility when it comes to contributing to your team dynamic. Don’t wait around for your team leader or someone else, but if there are things you would like to see changed on your teams, be the first to step out and take initiative. Demonstrate your desire to be on the team by being an active part of the team.

4. Invest in one another

Go beyond a “team” dynamic and strive to be a family. Take the time to share and learn about one another’s family and lifestyle back at home. Celebrate the little moments, cry together, laugh together, be there for one another, and fight for one another. Learn how to love one another and express it in the ways they receive it best.

5. Be vulnerable

Something beautiful happens when we take our walls down and allow others into our broken mess, inviting them into the process of healing. Of course it’s not easy and takes time…but it all starts with you. Be open and raw about the things you are going through. Share your thoughts, your struggles, your celebrations, your intentions, your desires, your goals, etc. Hold each other accountable, challenge one another, empower one another. Create space for honest conversations to happen.

6. NO gossip, bullying, clique-iness

Recognize that there is so much power in our words. Be a team whose members speak life over one another. None of the “he said, she said” stuff. If you have an issue with a person, be an adult and talk to them about it. If you notice that other people are gossiping, please be bold enough to call it out in them and encourage them to stop. Living in a community like this, there will be people who you naturally gravitate towards and people who will take extra time building a relationship with. Be mindful of being exclusive and make yourself available for everyone to get to know you. Be the first one to reach out to those you don’t typically hang out with.

7. The 24-hour rule

Build a culture of feedback. Create the space for people to see and call out the greatness in others while encouraging them (to learn more about it, go here:). The 24-hour rule (that states all conflicts must be addressed within 24 hours) ensures healthy and timely conflict resolution. Commit to it.

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