How can you help your community, organisation or team get better at problem-solving? In this episode, join 'Psychological Safety' expert ERIN LLOYD ROTICH from the USA, Tearfund's PRANAYA CHHETRI from Nepal, and FWANGMUN OSCAR DANLADI from the pioneering Jos Green Centre in Nigeria, as they help us search for answers. Listen below or scroll down to read three highlights from the interview.
‘Psychological safety means that you are not afraid to speak up,’ explains Erin. ‘It is the belief that you won’t be ashamed, humiliated or embarrassed if you speak up with ideas or you admit a mistake that you have made. It relates to innovation and problem solving.’
Oscar has learnt how to create psychologically safe spaces with the young people he works with in Nigeria. He says, ‘Many years of not being listened to pushes the young people into a kind of aspirational poverty. That is, they don’t have any aspirations for the future. We try to take the young people out of their context and let them see the possibility of what other young people are doing. That inspires them, and then we simply ask them, “What did you see?”’
‘A core concept of psychological safety is curiosity,’ continues Erin. Investigation assumes that there is something negative there and we just have to figure it out and keep moving. Curiosity says, “What is possible?” Curiosity is contagious, and once one key person starts to be curious it really shifts how people think.’
In Nepal, Pranaya supports churches and communities to think about what is possible, and how they can reduce dependency on support from outside the community. He explains, ‘It starts with vision. We work with gatekeepers who can really take the work forward. People who have passion and vision within them.’
Oscar adds, ‘Our culture here is to look for the culprit - who is responsible - rather than being curious about the opportunities. Over and over we have had young people who just do not want to dream and see the possibilities and opportunities that could be lying there within a problem. So what we have tried to do is shift this culture.’
Erin says, ‘It takes persistent and courageous people to push the boundaries and demonstrate that a different way is possible. You have to pair charisma with someone who is going to really be persistent and do the work.’
Oscar agrees. ‘When we started the journey of inspiring the young people we had some very charismatic people among us, but I discovered that charisma alone was not enough. Because challenging a culture that has been there many years before you were born is not easy.
‘One of the secrets of changing culture is not being afraid to fail. A lot of people do not want to fail. Those who are afraid to fail are less likely to make a shift in culture because it is scary.’
Pranaya says, ‘If you think a door is closing, then there are hundreds of doors that God will open. Be persistent, stick to the vision and believe in your destination - where you want to go.’
Erin agrees, ‘You have to have courage to take big steps and to dream. Take that first risk and see what happens. If it is failure - good! That pushes you forwards.’
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