How To Improve Psychological Safety At Work
4. Be self-aware—and demand the same from your team. – People bring their whole self to work—their unique personalities, preferences, and work styles. Build self-awareness on your team by sharing how you work best, how you like to communicate, and how you like to be recognized.

What does it mean to increase psychological safety at work?

Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.

What does a lack of psychological safety look like?

People do not feel comfortable accepting mistakes – A common sign of the absence of psychological safety is that people are not comfortable accepting their errors. This can be due to fear of humiliation, criticism, and punishment they might receive due to the mistake.

Effectively, accountability becomes low, and blame often gets shifted from one to another. A safe environment facilitates learning. This includes the scope for experimenting and failing as well. Employees no longer generate new ideas and innovation if fear curtails that scope. This forces the employees to remain limited to their defined job description instead of going beyond the call of duty and trying to do something new.

Ultimately, it negatively impacts employee motivation and curtails their ability to achieve their full potential. More than a mere problem for the organization, it is also a hazard to the employee’s career development.

What is lack of psychological safety at work?

Why psychological safety matters in the workplace – Psychological safety isn’t merely a nice to have — it’s essential for a business to operate efficiently and effectively. Without it, employees won’t trust their employer, and the whole business can suffer.

“If you think about it from the business perspective, when people feel psychologically safe in the organization — are able to share ideas, questions, concerns — the company is more agile,” says Julian Lute, senior manager and strategic advisor with Great Place To Work®. “We’ve seen through our research on psychological safety that when people question their every move, when people aren’t sure if they should raise questions, initiatives and programs roll out very slowly.” A lack of psychological safety can thwart new projects, processes, and procedures.

Without it, employees fear anything from being criticized if they can’t keep pace, to being made redundant because of new, “better” initiatives. But creating psychological safety goes beyond just encouraging people to speak up. It also includes how an employer views work/life balance.

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Great leadership is about making employees feel safe so they can focus on work without fear for their own survival.” “Psychological safety allows people to bring their full selves,” says Julian. “It allows you to show up in a way that’s much more authentic. The company is looking out for you. You’re not just a cog in the machine, and they care about your long-term success.

And then the benefit that the company gets is that employees actually care about the success of the organization.”