All You Need To Know About Psychological Safety In The Workplace In 2022
Understanding Psychological Safety in The Workplace
Have you ever wondered why certain team members are reluctant to speak up in office matters? What if they’re reluctant to pose difficult questions or hesitate to voice their worries? What if they don’t provide creative ideas because they fear being rejected? Unfortunately, many people complain about their jobs, which makes psychological safety in the workplace essential.
Amy Edmondson of Harvard created the term “psychological safety” in a 1999 journal paper examining its connection to team performance and learning. Psychological safety is the conviction that you won’t suffer consequences or face humiliation for voicing your opinions, queries, worries, or errors.
What exactly does psychological safety at work entail? Team members often agree that they won’t be rejected, humiliated, or penalized for speaking up by their teammates. A lack of interpersonal dread is a sign of psychological safety. People can speak up about work-related content when psychological safety is provided.
Importance of Psychological Safety in The Workplace
Teams, the heart and soul of modern businesses, must function at their best to be psychologically safe. Team leaders must first look within to understand and integrate their own feelings and worries before looking outside to support others to increase psychological safety in the workplace.
Benefits of Psychological Safety in the Workplace
1. Decrease in Employee Turnover
The costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and educating team members are exorbitant, considering all the other costs incurred when an employee is onboarded. Successful firms cannot endure high employee turnover. According to a study, team members are less likely to quit if they feel that psychological safety in the workplace is present. At the end of the day, everyone likes some validation of their efforts. Why would professionals leave a place where they are respected, safe, and valued?
2. Promotes Inclusive Work Culture
More than ever, it’s essential to ensure every team member feels involved in today’s modern world. Diverse teams are welcomed and nurtured in organizations that encourage psychological safety in the workplace. They create opportunities for all team members regardless of their gender, color, race, background, or political preferences. The outcome is a fruitful exchange of ideas and experiences where everyone feels connected and a part of a common cause.
3. Better Engaged Employees
Safe teams also encourage workers to be completely present at work rather than dozing off or counting the minutes until the day ends. It is easier for team members to participate when they feel secure at work. This might occur at a team meeting where members solve crucial problems, work on projects, and interact with peers and consumers.
4. Better Performance as a Team
Teams succeed when you have highly engaged workers who don’t want to quit. Teams perform better with an inclusive workplace atmosphere, brand ambassadors, and creative ideas. Having psychologically healthy staff is a winning formula for enhancing team performance.
5. Boosts Innovation and Creativity
Your employees must feel comfortable expressing their ideas for creativity to flow naturally. Can you just imagine the loss a company faces when team members do not share brilliant ideas? All because they lack confidence in the company or the work environment.
How to Create Psychological Safety in The Workplace
1. Avoid Blaming to Build Trust
Finding someone to blame when something goes wrong is simple. However, concentrate on finding solutions if you want to create and keep psychological safety in the workplace.
You must question what went wrong and why? Think about how you can ensure that it doesn’t happen next time. Instead of blaming one person for a mistake, convert accountability into a group endeavor.
2. Give Reasons for Implementing Changes
Timelines will change as a business progresses, requiring you to modify your strategies. While some of your employees may adjust quickly, others could find it difficult. Be specific about what changed and why as your expectations change or new information becomes available. Give your team members time to understand the change to create psychological safety in the workplace.
3. Promote Self-Awareness in Your Team
Building self-awareness in your team is the first step in establishing psychological safety in the workplace. People contribute their entire selves to work, including their own personalities, tastes, and working methods. Letting your team know how you prefer to work, communicate, and be acknowledged may help everyone on the team become more self-aware.
You can identify biases limiting your employees’ willingness to express their opinions by becoming aware of how you tend to think and act. High-performing businesses use behavioral assessments to assist staff in becoming more self-aware. Understanding your normal responses to changes or difficulties gives you more power. Knowing this allows you to modify your emotional responses and develop conversation-friendly reactions.
4. Show You Care and Understand
When your employees know you value them enough to comprehend and consider their point of view, they feel psychologically comfortable. Body language is another way to communicate understanding. During discussions, nod your head to show that you’ve heard what the other person has to say. Leaning forward will convey interest. Be mindful of your expressions. Your coworkers will notice if you appear worn out, bored, or dissatisfied. Employees may internalize the message you’re conveying with your expression, even if you don’t mean anything by it.
5. Promote Healthy Conflict and Competition
One of the riskiest interpersonal activities could be conflict. As a result, you need to work to foster the most constructive kind of disagreement. Even when employees are aware of their shortfalls, some choose to consciously not do anything about it and continue functioning in their comfort zone. As employers, you should address this issue indirectly by encouraging healthy competition. You can motivate staff members with bonuses and promotions.
6. Encourage Curiosity Among Employees
Despite the dangers of uncertainty, vulnerability, and conflict, curiosity fosters a culture of learning and inquiry. This not only creates psychological safety in the workplace but also helps keep your employees efficient with up-to-date market skills.
7. Keep Your Commitments, Expectations and Information Precise
Be careful with the information you offer and the expectations and commitments you set, as your employees need to trust you and your word to create psychological safety in the workplace. Be precise, sensible, and think carefully. Employees will have more confidence in you and be more forthcoming with you if you set clear expectations and keep your promises.
8. Take Feedback
Employees are more confident in their ability to provide feedback up, down, and across when in a psychologically secure environment. As a result, when employees need to convey important information, they feel confident enough to knock on the CEO’s door.
Invite your team to disagree with you and play the devil’s advocate. It may seem unsettling initially, but it leads to better decisions and greater accountability. Hence, it’s a win all around. You might also set an example by taking chances with other people and being open about mistakes. Try standing up during the following company-wide meeting and discussing a failure and what you’ve learned.
9. Own Up Your Mistakes
Failure can be terrifying, but as a leader, you can help your staff members feel less hurt by owning up to your mistakes and recognizing setbacks as lessons learned. Frequently ask your employees what they have done that didn’t turn out as planned and what they took from those situations. Team members will feel more at ease taking chances and speaking up if they realize they won’t be penalized for making mistakes due to this.
10. Discourage Any Negativity in The Office
Speak to any team member immediately if you feel they are causing trouble with their toxic office politics and spreading negativity. Make it clear to them that you work as a team and that negativity will not be accepted.
When leaders permit negativity to persist, it can catch on and spread to other people. Employees may believe that they should criticize others or that others are probably talking negatively about them. It kills psychological safety in the workplace in either case.
By now, the importance of psychological safety in the workplace must be clear, and you must be aware of how to create a secure environment. Employees who are engaged and feel protected at work are less likely to leave. The success and engagement of your team members can be created or destroyed by the tone you set as a leader.