saas.unbound is a podcast for and about founders who are working on scaling inspiring products that people love, brought to you by, a serial acquirer of B2B SaaS companies.

In episode #26, Anna Nadeina talks with Tobias, founder of Tower, one of the brands we acquired with at the very beginning of our journey, and now on a mission to help founders build better teams with his project,


The Importance of Psychological Safety

Psychological safety is a critical component of high-performing teams, yet it’s often overlooked or misunderstood by leaders. Google’s research in 2012 found that the number one factor distinguishing their top-performing teams was psychological safety – not the collective intelligence of the team members. Psychological safety is about creating an environment where people feel safe to take risks, be vulnerable, and speak up without fear of negative consequences.

At its core, psychological safety is built on trust, respect, and humility within a team. When these elements are present, team members feel comfortable being themselves, admitting mistakes, and challenging the status quo. This, in turn, leads to higher levels of innovation, collaboration, and overall team performance.


Building Trust and Relationships in Remote Teams

Fostering psychological safety can be particularly challenging in remote work environments, where face-to-face interactions are limited. However, there are strategies leaders can employ to build trust and strengthen relationships among remote team members.

Tobias talks about the way the first step is to understand that trust must be given before it can be earned. As a leader, you need to start by extending trust to your team members, rather than expecting them to prove themselves worthy of trust. This could involve things like giving people autonomy, being transparent about decisions, and following through on your commitments.

Beyond that, it’s important to create intentional opportunities for team members to connect on a personal level. This doesn’t mean forcing people to be “best friends,” but rather facilitating meaningful interactions that go beyond just work tasks. One effective approach is to set up regular “peer inquiry” sessions, where two team members are paired up to have a structured conversation.

During these sessions, each person is given 10 minutes to share about themselves, their interests, and their experiences, while the other person simply listens without interrupting. This creates a balanced interaction and encourages deeper self-disclosure. The final 10 minutes are then used for a more open-ended discussion. By mixing up team members from different departments or levels, you can help build cross-functional relationships and a stronger sense of community.


Addressing Culture in Job Postings and Branding

When it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, a company’s culture and values can be just as important as the work itself. However, many organizations struggle to authentically convey their culture in job postings and branding materials.

Tobias thinks that to avoid the pitfall of generic, cliché claims about “trust” and “respect,” leaders need to get specific about how these values are actually implemented in their organization. This could involve highlighting concrete policies or practices, such as unlimited vacation, no-meeting Fridays, or structured peer-to-peer feedback sessions.

Additionally, leaders should seek out opportunities to share their personal perspectives and stories, whether through podcasts, video interviews, or other content. This allows candidates to get a more authentic sense of the company’s culture and values, beyond the surface-level messaging.


Maintaining High Performance and Accountability

One common misconception about psychological safety is that it means sacrificing performance or accountability. In reality, the two go hand-in-hand. When team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable, they are more likely to push the boundaries, experiment, and ultimately drive better results.

The key is to strike the right balance. Leaders should still set clear expectations, hold people accountable to their commitments, and address underperformance when necessary. However, they should do so in a way that preserves the trust and psychological safety of the team.

This might involve having candid conversations about missed deadlines or subpar work, but framing it as a collaborative problem-solving exercise rather than a punitive measure. Leaders should also be willing to acknowledge their own mistakes and model the vulnerability they want to see in their team.


Agreements and Handling Disappointments

One of the foundational elements of building trust and psychological safety is the concept of agreements. An agreement is a clear, written understanding of what someone will do (or not do) and by when. Keeping agreements, even when life gets busy, is crucial for maintaining trust and credibility.

When disappointments or mistakes do happen, the healthiest approach is to address them proactively and transparently. If you know you won’t be able to fulfill an agreement, reach out to the affected parties ahead of time to renegotiate or adjust expectations. And if you’ve already missed a deadline, take responsibility, apologize, and work together to find a solution.

Avoiding ignorance and having these difficult conversations is key. By modeling accountability and a willingness to learn from setbacks, leaders can turn disappointments into opportunities to strengthen relationships and build an even more resilient team.



Building a high-performing, psychologically safe remote team requires a deliberate, multi-faceted approach. It starts with leaders extending trust, fostering personal connections, and role-modeling the behaviors they want to see. By getting specific about culture, upholding agreements, and addressing disappointments head-on, organizations can create an environment where people feel empowered to bring their best selves to work – and deliver exceptional results.

Head of Growth,