#136: The Resilient Surgeon S2: Dr. Amy Edmondson

September 23, 2022

In this episode, Dr. Michael Maddaus interviews Dr. Amy Edmondson—a scholar of leadership, teaming, and organizational learning. Best known for her groundbreaking work on psychological safety in the workplace, Dr. Edmondson is the author of seven books and is ranked as one of the most influential management thinkers. What is psychological safety? According to Dr. Edmondson, it is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes, and that the team is safe for inter-personal risk-taking. In other words, she says, “Think of it as felt permission for candor.” Dr. Maddaus reflects on the surgical culture in which fear and anxiety have been the accepted drivers of high expectations and excellence. The concept of psychological safety, though, has shown him a different way, and together with Dr. Edmondson, he discusses a “recipe for magic”—the magic for better outcomes, better problem-solving, and a more flexible and rapid ability to adapt and create for the future. Listeners will hear Dr. Edmondson explain that if you change the nature and quality of the conversations in your team, your outcomes will improve exponentially. Psychological safety, she explains, is the core component to unlock this. A leader’s job—whether at the top of an organization or somewhere in the middle—is to create a safe space for people to speak up, make mistakes, and bring their full selves to work. 

“The Resilient Surgeon” is a program from the Society designed to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world’s top performers. Learn more about STS wellness efforts at sts.org/wellness. Dr. Edmondson can be reached at amycedmondson.com and @AmyCEdmondson