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How do we build a team culture in which teammates feel safe for risk-taking in the face of being seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative, or disruptive?

In a workplace with high psychological safety, everyone is confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.

Today I’m talking with Maya Hu-Chan about the fundamental concept of “saving face”. “Face” represents one’s self-esteem, self-worth, reputation, and dignity. Saving face is often understood as saving someone from embarrassment. It is also about developing an understanding of the background, individuality, and perspective of others to discover the unique facets each person possesses. Without that understanding, we risk causing others to lose face without even knowing it.

Maya Hu-Chan is a globally recognized leadership educator, executive coach, and best-selling author. Her latest book “Saving Face: How to Preserve Dignity and Build Trust” is an Amazon #1 Best Seller. Maya has built a reputation for excellence in global leadership, cross-cultural management, diversity, and inclusion. Born and raised in Taiwan, Maya received her BA in journalism from National Chengchi University. She was an anchor for the China Broadcasting Company, then moved to the U.S. to earn a MA from The University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband and three children.

Teaming Up Conversations is powered by Stand Out International, and hosted by Simon Vetter. He is an expert on behavior and culture change. He trains and enables teams to create high-performing organizations.

Discussion Points

  • What does “saving face” mean? What happens when a person “loses face”?
  • Psychological safety – how can we foster it?
  • Microaggressions – often unintentional offenses caused by bias
  • Using the AAA model to work through bias
  • Impact versus intent – why is it important to understand the nuance
  • Life lessons from having raised triplets
  • Turning the Golden Rule into the Platinum Rule: Treat others as THEY wish to be treated