Psychological Safety in the workplace is the belief that the environment is a safe place where you can take an interpersonal risk as a group. This means that the team can speak up, especially when there’s a problem present in the team dynamics. It’s also a safe space to give creative ideas.
In a recent report made by People Management last 2019, managers who administered a psychologically safe work environment are less likely to have employee turnover on their teams.
If you are a leader and want to retain your team, you must ensure psychological safety within the team and the whole company. We know that this kind of initiative starts from the top executives down to all organizational levels.
Here are the powerful seven tips that you can do to build a culture of psychological safety in the workplace.
Be engaging with your team.
Being heard is very important, regardless of what position you have in any company. When someone knows that their supervisor or manager listens, they’ll know that there’s a genuine concern coming from them.
Remember that when employees feel that they are not given attention when they speak or share their thoughts, they can shy away. What you can do to avoid this is to be fully present during meetings. Make eye contact with them. Do not be distracted by text messages or emails.
When you show them that you don’t value their thoughts, this will negatively affect the team’s psychological safety. Be engaging by practicing how to listen actively. Ask questions or clarify to make sure you understood their point. Practicing this kind of behavior creates a space for your employees to speak up without them feeling intimidated.
Psychological safety is encouraged explicitly in companies that have producing culture. Your employee’s job performance escalates when they know it’s safe to take interpersonal risks without reprimanding.
Building trust instead of blaming
Psychological safety in the workplace means focusing on solutions instead of looking for someone to blame.
Do not focus on questions such as, “What happened and why did it happen?”. The right question is, “How can we make this better next time?” Take a look at the language. Instead of “you,” use “we.” “We statement” signals that it’s a group effort, rather than pointing out at someone for their mistake. Remember that you are a team.
Each member of the team has a unique personality, work style, and preferences. Encourage the team to build on their self-awareness to know how they work best, how they like to communicate, and how they want to be recognized. But this all starts with you.
Be open to the team about your work style and predispositions. High-performing companies administer behavioral assessments that aim to build psychological safety in the workplace. This can also encourage the respect and uniqueness of everyone.
NO to negativity
Imagine a workplace where everyone talks badly about peers or focus on the negative aspects of work. This is a psychological safely killer. If there’s a team member who talks negatively about colleagues, speak to them immediately.
Be straightforward in saying that the attitude they are showing is not tolerated in the workplace. It might also be better for them to understand that spreading negativity will not do any good. Instead of talking in such a way, maybe they can help their peers if they have a hard time or are still not very familiar with work processes.
This means that you’re open to feedback. As their leader, you make the final call to make a decision. This shows that you are capable of the leadership position given to you. At the same time, be open to tell them that you are approachable if they have any objective feedback.
When the team feels psychologically safe, they will feel empowered to give observations. This means they’ll not be intimidated to knock on your door when there’s a piece of critical information needed to be shared.
Invite the team to challenge your perspective. Naturally, this can be uncomfortable for them. But remember that healthy conflict can lead to better decisions. Be their role model by taking risks through sharing failures and what you’ve learned from that. This will show them that even leaders make mistakes. But what separates a good leader is the humility to learn from that.
We not I
When it comes to decision making, don’t hesitate to consult the team. This is not because you can’t decide on your own, but it’s creating an opportunity to know their feedback and other perspectives about a particular decision.
This will not only help them feel that they are valued in the decision-making process, but also promote psychological safety that will result in better outcomes. Once you’ve already finalized a decision, share with the team your reasoning behind making the decision you made and how their feedback factored in. Employees appreciate honesty and transparency, so you do that by telling them the considerations made.
Whenever you communicate decisions, don’t miss out on highlighting the team members’ opinions or perspectives contributing to the final decision. Acknowledge that and celebrate the team member’s initiative.
Raise the team for greatness
Show the team that you are on their side by supporting their professional and personal development. When you see them interested in attending training to improve their craft, support them by allowing them to take the day to participate.
Creating and promoting psychological safety in the workplace is worth it.
An employee’s performance will improve as a result of having this kind of culture. Those employees who feel engaged and safe at work have a higher tendency to stay and be loyal to the company.
Try any of these strategies and observe the impacts and changes it can give.
Try downloading the psychsafety.co.uk workshop and tool kit to accelerate your team building.