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Fostering Psychological Safety: The Key to Unlocking Team Potential

June 27, 2023

Psychological safety refers to the belief that one can express their ideas, opinions, and concerns without fear of negative consequences or judgment.
When individual team members feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to:

  • communicate openly and constructively
  • collaborate effectively
  • share ideas, learn and develop.

Psychological safety is vital for promoting innovation, creativity and high-performance within teams

When team members feel safe to share their thoughts and perspectives, it encourages diverse thinking, leading to more robust problem-solving and decision-making processes.
They also experience lower levels of stress and anxiety. This, in turn, improves overall job satisfaction, engagement, and retention.
When psychological safety is present, team members feel valued and respected, leading to higher levels of collaboration and commitment to shared goals.

What makes up a Psychologically Safe Environment?

There are 4 elements to a psychologically safe environment:

• Willingness to Help and Teaming
Psychologically safe working environments encourage positive interactions and collaborative relationships among team members. Team goals are emphasised over individual achievements and there are opportunities for team building and bonding activities.

• Inclusion and Diversity of Thinking
Teams which value and display behaviours that foster inclusion are best positioned to leverage the benefits of diversity. In inclusive environments, people are more likely to speak up and the team conversations are richer, more insightful and decision-making is more effective.

• Attitudes to Interpersonal Risk and Failure
When we consider errors as opportunities to learn about our systems and rhythms of work, team members feel supported to learn and develop. A growth mindset is encouraged by maintaining a true feedback culture ensuring mistakes as well as successes are valued as learning experiences.

• Open Conversations
When we improve the quality of our conversations, the quality of our outcomes increases exponentially. In psychologically safe environments, people feel comfortable bringing up the tough issues, allowing real change to happen.

We can help

All of this might sound like a stretch but be assured that we can help. Our psychologists have been trained in the methodologies of assessing and supporting psychological safety. We can help you with simple, pragmatic strategies and practices that, when integrated into your current routines, will start to shift the dial on psychological safety.

For more information, contact Nicole Gray in our Australia offices or Richard Scaife for the rest of the world.

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