How leaders can build psychological safety in the workplace

Small boy standing on a diving board.

Have you ever experienced the feeling of not being included in a work discussion, or been reluctant to speak up in a meeting out of fear that what you say might negatively influence how others perceive your competence, and possibly risk humiliation, shame, or embarrassment?

These are all examples of not feeling psychological safety, a term coined by organisational behavioural scientist, Amy Edmondson, and defined as. “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking

Through our work supporting organisations to build innovative and collaborative cultures where everyone belongs, we know that creating a culture where team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of one another is an essential trait of high performing teams.

Psychological safety is about candor – it’s about making it possible for productive disagreement and the free exchange of ideas between team members, which is vital to learning and innovation. Conflict and varied opinions are inevitable in any workplace. Psychological safety enables people with varying opinions to speak up candidly when needed with relevant ideas, questions, or concerns, and without being shut down in a gratuitous way.

In a recent episode for Fast Track: Career Conversations with Margie Hartleyour CEO Sophie Hampel sat down with Margie Hartley, Executive Coach, Podcaster, and Leadership expert, to discuss how to create psychological safety in the workplace and foster a culture where team members feel safe to freely share ideas, admit mistakes and take risks.

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