Boosting Psychological Safety in the Workplace
While the modern world continually tries to understand, accept and normalise mental health and psychological concerns, psychological safety at the workplace has never been more important. Previously, workers used to seek job security, pay benefits and convenience when seeking a new job opportunity, but today’s workers seek the typical factors and beyond, placing more importance on their psychological health and safety.
After the pandemic, leaders are working in ways never imagined before, trying to improve communications, problem-solving and engaging teams from afar. But one thing, an employer must not overlook is being mindful of the employees’ thoughts and feelings induced by the workplace.
Defining Psychological Safety
Simply put, it is the ability to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative outcomes that affect self-image, status or career. In a work setting, it is referred to the shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. According to author Sahen Snow, it is knowing that things you say and do will not be used against you (as long as you mean no harm).
What Makes a Workplace Psychologically Unsafe?
Several audits and evaluations may help find out the psychological safety level of your organisation. However, it all narrows down to identifying what makes it safe and unsafe and being open to making the essential changes.
An unsafe work environment may include any kind of harassment that goes against your company’s policies or, in many cases, is illegal. Beyond this, unsafe behaviors encompass microaggression, gaslighting as well as lack of communication, boundaries, awareness and bias.
When the above concerns are continually persistent in your team of workers, it leads to a work environment in which the team members cannot confidently partake in their jobs and will eventually result in an unprofessional and negative work setting. Hence, the key to transforming an unsafe environment into a safe one lies in being self-aware and open to change, because there may also be instances you may be creating an unsafe environment unknowingly.
In contrast, a safe work environment will make workers feel they can ask questions, raise concerns and pitch ideas without negative consequences. Speaking up would feel right and be welcomed and valued by colleagues.
Why is Psychological Safety Important in a Workplace?
Because teams need safety, too. It is crucial for the performance and productivity of teams who are the lifeblood of organisations. Promoting mental health while combatting the stigma that keeps people at work from seeking support is essential to making them feel warm and welcome at the workplace.
Increased psychological safety in a workplace could result in reduced turnover and increased productivity. Nevertheless, beyond the benefits of psychological safety to your company is the human aspect.
We spend about one-third of our lives working and we would not want to spend that time in an unsafe environment that results in dire outcomes such as depression, unhappiness, harassment, health issues and more. We seek safe environments that enable us to thrive.
However, fostering a psychologically safe workplace is not one person’s responsibility. It is both for the team and comes from the team.
How to Boost Psychological Safety in a Workplace?
First leaders must look within to understand and integrate their own emotions and fears, and then look outward to support others. Here are a few ways you can be mindful and help make your team feel psychologically safe at your organisation:
- Create a space to gain more awareness of what is going on within and around you
- Be bold and confident when exhibiting vulnerability and confront what is unfolding
- Demonstrate empathy to understand and accept what others are feeling
- Act with compassion to make your workers feel genuinely cared for
Psychological safety will be present in a workplace the day there is an absence of interpersonal fear. And when it is present, workers will be able to speak up about work-relevant concerns.
According to Harvard Business School Prof. Amy Edmondson, “ Psychological safety is a belief that no one will be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.”
As the current hybrid work arrangements take over the business landscape, how can you cultivate psychological safety within your team so they can be more productive, creative and innovative? Looking for an answer?
Psychological Safety in the Workplace is a live virtual masterclass by Keynotive which will be conducted together with Mehmet Baha, Founder & Senior Consultant at Solution Folder, Germany.
This masterclass will empower and inspire you to create psychological safety, provide you with dynamic and interactive virtual exercises to create social learning to maximize the application of ideas and enable your team to contribute towards individual and team performance and drive behavioral change.
If you are interested in joining the hands-on masterclass, sign up today by clicking here.