Harvard Business School professor Dr Amy Edmonson describes psychological safety as ”an absence of interpersonal fear. When psychological safety is present, people are able to speak up with work-relevant content”.
In other words, a psychologically safe environment is a place where individuals feel empowered to share information and be vulnerable.
By removing interpersonal fear and welcoming workplace vulnerability, leaders can set the whole tone for an organisation’s culture, employee experience, style of performance management and how its people interact with each other. Workplace vulnerability is the ability to express and expose, in words and behaviour, who we really are and what we genuinely think and feel.
For most of us workplace vulnerability can include situations, such as:
- Speaking up at meetings
- Sharing new ideas or raising concerns
- Admitting to workplace errors
- Showing emotions
- Asking for help or clarity when needed
So when people feel they cannot be vulnerable they are highly limited in their ability to participate in the workplace and cannot perform to their full potential.
So what are the benefits of psychological safety in the workplace?
Psychologically safe workplaces promote healthier, more productive and more inclusive workforces. They also provide an environment where innovation can thrive and people can perform at their best.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits psychological safety can have on the bottom line:
Leading from the front with psychological safety
Establishing a culture that promotes psychological safety is the first step in making employees feel welcome to share their ideas and feel empowered. So how can leaders get started on creating this culture?
At NKD, we have created a 90-minute live workshop that takes leaders through a learning journey to gain an overview of psychological safety. This workshop also provides practical actions for establishing and maintaining a psychologically safe environment.
In the workplace, team psychological safety must be a top priority if businesses want to create a successful enterprise. And, more importantly, psychological safety contributes to an inclusive, diverse, and accepting workplace. A workplace where team members feel safe to express themselves.
So to begin your journey in creating a safe space where your people can thrive, get in touch.