A sign of healthy company culture is meetings where people openly can disagree with each other. It signals a net of psychological safety in which dissent and challenge is seen as productive, and in which failure is seen as a sign of learning. This is especially true in knowledge organizations where the role of leadership is to amplify the innovative ideas coming from the edges of the company.

However, getting here is difficult. The raw ingredients include trust and respect among peers, clear lines of decision making, and a collective intentionality to get better as a team.

Trust and respect is built one interaction at a time. It requires listening more than talking. It’s about developing an honest curiosity for someone elses opinion. Delivering feedback in the right way (timely and direct) also signals respect for others opinions and intentions.

Clear lines of decison making create structure for group interactions. When everyone knows the process of making a decision, who the owner is, and how much information is needed to make said decision, everything moves quicker. Without any of these things decisions start to linger. The point on intentionality is about paying attention to how things are done, not just what is being done. Groups need to be mindful of their dynamic and understand how best to harness it together.

For leaders providing feedback in group settings, I’ve found success in picking the right battles. Leaders have natural leverage that sometimes becomes overused on details that are often unimportant. Providing feedback on everything can quickly become noise and ignored (or worse yet, shut out altogether).