What is Psychological Safety?
A couple of years ago Google set out on a two year long quest to identify the most important factors that drive a high performance team. They identified Psychological Safety to be ‘far and away the most important of the five dynamics found’. Psychological safety, as described by Harvard Business Professor Amy Edmondson, is the ‘shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking’.
A psychologically safe workplace takes Psychological Wellbeing to be a priority and creates an environment in which employees Thrive. Employees feel motivated, appreciated and content. Psychological harm is avoided. These workplaces have higher attendance levels and find it easier to recruit and retain staff.
Ultimately, creating a psychologically safe environment encourages team members to be more willing to share ideas and speak up when they don’t think something is right, potentially preventing project failures or mistakes. It means people can take interpersonal risks without feeling insecure or embarrassed.
Consider a team you work closely with. Can you take a chance without fear of it being held against you? Do you feel supported and valued by your employer and colleagues? Do you feel comfortable having open and honest conversations within a team setting? If you answer no to any of these questions, your workplace may lack psychological safety.
“Can you take a chance without fear of it being held against you?”
Managers are vital in creating a Psychologically Safe workplace. Providing individuals with the authority to make appropriate decisions allows employees to feel valued by their line-manager and colleagues. Providing clarity within job roles and creating a suitable balance of work demands, autonomy levels, appropriate work challenge and skill levels, optimises employee contributions. Promoting and demonstrating supportive, positive and open work relationships will motivate and teach others within your team to develop similar behaviours.
Our work with teams across industry, function and size has led us to create our employee engagement tool, a questionnaire that measures the Wellbeing of your workforce and its Psychological Safety. This is key to optimal Wellbeing. Our questionnaire reliably measures whether your employees are Thriving and the reasons behind this. We work with organisations to develop your leadership skills and team culture, to create the optimal team performance environment, implementing action plans that drive enhanced Wellbeing, a Psychologically Safe culture and demonstrate organisational/business improvements.
If you would like to find out more about our evidence based work and how you can improve the Psychological Safety in your team please call me on 01912248030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.