5 Strategies to Create Psychological Safety at Work
One of the top priorities of a leader is to ensure that his or her team members feel engaged with their work and succeed at work. In order to do that or achieve these goals, creating psychological safety at work is important.
What Is Psychological Safety?
In the words of Dr. Amy Edmondson of the Harvard Business School, psychological safety is a trust among employees that no one will be humiliated or punished for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes. High-performing teams see psychological safety as a yardstick to choose a workplace and continue working there.
If a team feels its workplace minus of the afraid of the negative consequences that may come from:
- Taking smart risks
- Making mistakes
- Sharing their opinions within their team
- Being candid with one another
For this reason, these teams can also express their varying opinions without being afraid of being let-down and be proactive to take initiative when it matters most.
Why Does Psychological Safety Matter?
An empowered team will share their perspectives with each other, especially when their opinions tend to differ from the rest of the group. It will be able to more fully leverage the knowledge and talent that each member brings to the team. The members of such a team are more likely to take initiative and consider the full picture of each situation and that helps them to innovate and find effective solutions.
It is also important to provide and receive candid, respectful feedback in a safe environment. Take a look at employee perceptions of psychological safety as a starting point for building a stronger feedback culture.
Benefits of psychological safety
It is essential to create a trusting environment when it comes to performance. According to multiple studies published in the Harvard Business Review, psychological safety is an important component of high-performing (and hybrid) teams, and cognitive diversity and psychological safety are two characteristics shared by the most effective teams when it comes to problem solving.
Psychological safety not only enhances employee engagement, but also improves team performance. Members of a team who feel appreciated for their insights:
- Feel like a respected part of their team
- See the value of their work
- Feel accepted for who they are and the unique strengths they bring
How to measure psychological safety
The psychological safety of your employees can be measured through employee surveys. The traditional psychological safety assessment, however, tends to focus solely on perceptions at the team level. Inquire about employees’ perceptions of psychological safety both at work and in the workplace.
Use a pulse survey template to ask the right questions about team members’ feelings about sharing opinions, taking risks, and making mistakes.
Data analysis should be based on the team level, rather than the organization as a whole, when reviewing your results. You will have the greatest success improving psychological safety within teams if you have an understanding of the level of psychological safety throughout your organization.
How To Create Psychological Safety At Work
How do you transform your team environment and create psychological safety at work now that you understand what psychological safety is, why it matters, and how to measure it? Use these five strategies to create psychological safety at work.
- Develop Self-Awareness
Build your team’s self-awareness to create psychological safety at work. You can uncover biases that may be affecting your employees’ willingness to share their opinions when you recognize how you prefer to think and behave yourself.
As a result of self-awareness, you are also able to understand your typical reactions to changes or challenges. As a result, you can adjust your emotional responses and learn to react in a way that promotes open communication.
For better understanding yourself and your team, 360° reviews and assessments like the Emergenetics Profile can be used to build self-awareness.
- Show Concern For Your Team Members As Individuals
Asking team members how they are doing may or may not come naturally to you. Nevertheless, checking in with your employees demonstrates your concern and interest in them as individuals. If you take this simple step, team members will feel more comfortable speaking up because they’ll know that they’re valued as a whole – not just for their work.
- Ask Questions Actively
Pause your meeting as your team is reaching a decision to ask questions, express different perspectives, and consider new factors. Before moving on, mentally count to ten. Train yourself to pause and encourage input from internal processors, as they may need more time to formulate their thoughts.
- Make It Easy For Employees To Share Their Opinions
Although some employees may feel comfortable sharing their thoughts in a meeting, others may prefer more time to consider their responses. In addition to in-person discussions, encourage team members to share feedback via email or online collaboration tools, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.
- Appreciate Ideas And Show Value To Them
You must create an environment where your employees feel welcome to share their ideas openly if you really want them to do so. Suspend judgment as you brainstorm. Not every idea needs to be acted on, simply to thank all people for their contributions and show appreciation for their insights. That will go a long way in ensuring psychological safety.
Whether your employees are engaged and successful depends on the tone you set for them. You will boost your team’s performance when you implement these five psychological safety strategies at your workplace.
Still not sure how to move ahead with these ideas? Do you see your managers need training in regards to ensuring your employees’ safety and providing them with a secure workplace?
Talk to training consultants at Promise Training & Consultancy where you can find specialized and personalized corporate training solutions for business leaders, covering domains like Administration and Secretarial Courses, Human Resources Courses, Contract Management Courses, Finance, and Accounting Courses, Customer Service Courses, Logistics, and Supply Chain Management Courses, Management and Leadership Courses, Procurement and Supply Chain Courses, Project Management Courses, Soft Skills Training Courses, Health and Safety Courses, Oil & Gas Courses, and more, besides Health, Safety, Security and Environmental Training Courses.
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