High-performing teams do not exist without psychological safety.
But why should you care?
In short, it will improve your business’ performance.
Various studies, including Google’s Project Aristotle – a two-year study on effective teams, show that teams with higher levels of trust and cohesion perform at higher levels, resulting in improved business performance and growth.
But what exactly is psychological safety?
In simple terms, psychological safety is where team members feel safe to engage in interpersonal risk‐taking behaviors in the workplace. These behaviors involve feeling safe to challenge the status quo, speaking up, and constructively disagreeing with others.
When team members feel psychologically safe, they communicate more openly and speak more freely within the team environment. Additionally, they feel that they will not be shamed if mistakes are made, creating an open and thriving environment for performance, growth, creativity, and innovation.
How do you create psychological safety?
Psychological safety starts with us as leaders and ensuring we model the behavior needed to build the right environment, including:
- Replacing hierarchical/transactional leadership with values-led, open, and authentic approach. Don’t underestimate the power of essential (soft) skills such as deep listening, presence and empathy.
- Embracing mistakes as learning opportunities. Mistakes enable teams to be more creative, learn, innovate, and develop better outcomes. Noting that mistakes are different to underperformance, which needs to be addressed in a timely manner.
- Leaning into tough conversation and replace blaming and shaming with curiosity. This will go a long way to build trust.
- Develop a shared vision and goals and discuss them regularly as a team.
- Create a culture of accountability, feedback and continually growth.
If you would like support creating psychologically safe environments and building high performing teams, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.