Goof van Amelsvoort - Leadership and Psychological Safety in Teams

Theory and Practice to Prevent Teams Behaving Like a Flock of Penguins


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Dramatic events, a series of incidents, or destructive leadership can traumatize teams. The relational wiring between team members, and the team and its manager is damaged. The team looks more like a flock of penguins. In a group, the penguin withdraws to hatch its own egg and does not care about others. But in the face of danger, the flock forms a strong crowd.

Traumatized teams behave similarly and that drains energy from the team. Luckily, there are ways to work on the recovery of trauma. In fact, it offers opportunities to flourish as a team like never before.

Leadership and Psychological Safety in Teams offers insights and practical tools for a team manager or a team member to shape the post-traumatic growth of your team.

Published in November 2022 | Paperback | 224 pages | ca. 60,000 words

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Goof van Amelsvoort is organizational advisor and team coach and works for various organizations. He takes an ecological system perspective on organizations and teams. The mutual relationships between the team members makes the team strong. The health between the relational wiring offers tremendous resilience.


Leadership and Psychological Safety in Teams does not provide symptom control or keeping up appearances, but it looks at behavioral patterns in the interaction and the dark sides of cooperation and leadership. This book prioritizes the necessity to repair the relational wiring in order to be able to work in modern-day organizations.’
Lara de Bruin, interim manager at various health care organizations

‘I read the book with much pleasure. It helps you to understand the various phases of growth dynamics in teams in an accessible manner. The penguin metaphor appeals to the imagination and helps provide insight in how individuals in teams and teams themselves develop. Very useful for consultants, managers, team members, and colleagues. Recommended!’
Reader’s review

Leadership and Psychological Safety in Teams has been a pleasant surprise. It is fascinating to read how teams and organizations reach their survival mode and acquire trauma’s, and how team members start to work on ‘their own island’ and stop taking responsibility for the whole. The book also made me think how team leaders can have a negative influence on the team, despite their best intentions. The book also offers tools and tips to start growing and flourishing as a team.’
Reader’s review

‘The book describes both the theory and the practice of teams clearly. It is an exception to the common literature on teams, because it doesn’t just provides advice and intervention methods, but goes deeper into interpreting the behavior of teams. You receive useful tips, based on theory and practical experience, to get teams out of often years-long deadlocks.’
W.F.B. Bovendeert, Managementboek.nl



Part I, We are hardly suited to work together in present-day organizations
1. Working together is a hassle
2. Building blocks for successful teams
3. Obstacles for working together: unconscious patterns
4. Communicating from values
5. Team dynamics and team patterns as obstacles
6. Management as an obstacle for working together

Part II, How trauma is created: damage to the underground wiring
7. Trauma in teams
8. Singular trauma: it happens to us
9. Multiple trauma: accumulation and old wounds
10. Complex trauma: problematic leadership

Part III, Post-traumatic growth
11. Leadership in trauma recovery
12. Post-traumatic growth
13. Leadership in post-traumatic growth
14. Leading negative teams
15. Binding cooperation

About the author
Team scan: seven building blocks for successful teams
Training and workshops

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