Is your workplace psychologically safe?
Take a minute and think about your team of employees. Then ask yourself these questions;
- Do your team members pretend to know everything or do they ask questions during meetings?
- Do members question how things are done comfortably? Or do they do this informally?
- Do members see failures as learning opportunities? Or are they afraid when they commit a mistake?
- Are all members free to give contributions during meetings?
- Are members free to go beyond their roles? Or are they restricted?
- Are your team members comfortable discussing opposing views?
Your answers paint a certain picture of your team. You can tell if they are happy and comfortable at work or not.
Psychological safety refers to a belief that one will not suffer consequences for speaking up their mind. A working place that is psychological safe gives employees an opportunity for learning. That is, they are free to ask questions, look for feedback, admit mistakes, and question issues.
A working place that is not psychologically safe, employees are not free to speak out. Otherwise, the would face various threats.
First, they are branded as incompetent and ignorant.
Second, they get negative feedback characterized by contempt, mockery, rejection, and intimidations.
Third, they can be punished through reduced promotion chances, hostile tasks, and negative performance appraisals.
According to research conducted by Sandra Joe, a team leader and psychology writer with one of the leading online writing service, shows that these threats hinder effective employee productivity. Due to these threats, employees practice self-silencing and avoid learning. This prevents them from developing their capabilities.
With psychological safety. Team members trust, and respect each other. They are all comfortable being themselves. They are comfortable admitting their mistakes, and the mistakes of their colleagues. Members don’t have to censor themselves when pointing out matters that are related to work.
How can you tell if your workplace is psychologically safe?
If there is psychological safety at work, you will observe the following elements:
- Your team will raise work issues openly leading to better understanding. Members will always express their concerns.
- All members will be actively engaged during meetings. They all critically examine established plans regardless of their status.
- Failure is taken as a learning opportunity. It is not penalized or punished.
- Every member’s skills and talents are used and valued.
- The members are very comfortable asking for help.
- Mistakes are pointed at without blame or accusations.
10 Fundamentals about Psychologically Safe Workplace You Didn’t Learn in School
When your team feels safe at the workplace, they are motivated to taking risks. This means that when there is a problem, they will not think twice to give their differing ideas. But, if they feel threatened, they may choose self-silencing. They would rather watch the business struggle than speak out and be exposed to the threats. This hinders their development as well as the development of your organization.
Let us look at 10 fundamentals about the psychologically safe workplace you didn’t learn in school.
- Offersthe benefit of the doubt
Mutual trust is important in the workplace. It signifies psychological safety. By offering the benefit of the doubt you increase trust. This involves giving members a chance to correct their mistakes. It indicates that you trust them. As a result, they feel safe and motivated to address these mistakes. Trust serves as the foundation of a safe workplace. The key thing is building mutual trust for your team.
- Promotes responsibility
Healthy relationships with colleagues create psychological safety. However, employees can only build such relationships if they know their boundaries. For example, employees should be held responsible for promoting a just culture. Such a culture reduces the fear of bullying promoting psychological safety.
- Prioritizes effectiveness
When efficiency is prioritized, employees are stressed out. But, when effectiveness is given priority, workplace threats are reduced. This help employees to focus on executing their tasks.
- Empowers employees
Easy communication strengthens psychological safety. With unlimited communication, employees are comfortable sharing ideas. They freely communicate with the leaders as well as with their colleagues. It also enables them to learn associated with improved performance.
- Takes action against undermining behaviors
A psychologically safe workplace takes action against undermining behaviors. Any person caught undermining colleagues are confronted. Such behaviors cause distress and are threatening. This is why they are considered intolerable.
- Framing mistakes as learning opportunities
Blaming employees for their mistakes causes distress. It makes a working environment psychologically unsafe. This can only be addressed by framing mistakes as learning opportunities. This eliminates the stigma associated with blame. By rewarding detection of mistakes, openness and participation are reinforced.
- Encourages compassion
By showing compassion to other people, they feel safe and more engaged. Such an environment encourage people to show compassion creating a psychologically safe environment.
- Encourages engagement
A psychologically safe environment has set rules of engagement. The rules clarify the expected behaviors of every team member. Every person regardless of their title is expected to honor these rules.
- Values people more
A psychologically safe workplace put more value on people rather than processes. Humans are the most valuable in the working environment. An organization without people is not an organization. This is why organizations are considered as collections of human beings working together towards a common purpose. So, valuing people more creates a safe working environment. This is implemented by trusting people, listening to them actively, being caring, and showing empathy.
- Gives positive feedback
A psychologically safe working environment gives positive feedback. This involves celebrating individuals for good work and telling the value of an action, but this has to be done from the start just like education foundation to a child. This gives employee confidence. It shows them that other people appreciate, values, and respects them. This makes the working environment feel safe for every individual.
In a Nutshell.
Protecting the mental being of your workforce makes you a responsible employer. It is not just good for the employee but also for your business. It ensures that you don’t put your employees at risk. It also improves employee engagement, motivation, and commitment to your business.
Therefore, create a psychological workplace for your employees. It will enable them to share their ideas, ask necessary questions, and be valuable team members. Their mistakes will serve as learning opportunities. Every employee will feel like an important team member. This is regardless of their title. In short, you will have a psychologically safe team. These teams are more productive. They are more motivated and interested in impacting the business positively.
So, pay attention to your organizational culture. Ensure that it creates a comfortable environment for every employee. For a high-performing team, psychological safety is inevitable.