What is Psychological Safety?
In a recent WELCOA article, Dr. Patricia Grabarek and Dr. Katina Sawyer, the co-founders of Workr Beeing, discuss psychologically safe workplaces. They explain that psychological safety means that there is a “shared belief that a team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.” Having a sense of psychologically safety has been linked to many positive outcomes at work including increased job satisfaction, enhanced engagement and improved work performance. In conclusion, psychological safety is a key mechanism that ensures plenty of positive outcomes for both employees and organizations and it should be a top priority for employers.
Components of Psychologically Safe Workplaces
As an employer, you may be wondering how you create a psychologically safe workplace for your employees. In their article, Dr. Grabarek and Dr. Sawyer state that there are four main components of psychological safety. Listed below are ways you can promote them in your workplace!
- Encourage Risk Taking: When employees are encouraged to take risks they are more likely to think outside the box and try new ideas. The best way to set this in motion is to allow employees to make mistakes. Not all risks succeed and employees need to know that they can make a mistake without fearing they will be harshly punished or terminated. Dr. Grabarek and Dr. Sawyer clarify that this doesn’t mean that employees should be able to repeat the same mistakes, but remember that mistakes are a part of the creative growing process.
- Actively Listen: A major component of psychological safety is being able to bring up a challenging issue without retribution. The best way to ensure employees feel comfortable bringing issues to your attention is to encourage all employees to speak up and actively listen to them. Ask for opinions during team meetings, follow up and check in with each individual, and make any necessary changes based on the feedback you receive. This will help prevent any future problems from being swept under the rug because your employees know they can come to you.
- Celebrate Differences: A psychologically safe team is one in which all team members can feel confident being themselves and feel valued for the unique perspective they bring to the team. As a leader it is your job to ensure team members know they do not all have to think and behave the same way. Celebrate everyone’s differences and emphasize the importance of bringing many different skill sets and personalities together.
- Cultivate Collaboration: Psychologically safe teams are characterized by supportive climates where employees boost each other up instead of tearing each other down. Make sure you encourage employees to ask one another for help and work together on projects. When employees know that they can turn to one another in times of need, they are much more likely to find ways to synergize their efforts and come to shared solutions.
To learn more, visit WELCOA!