Strategies to Create Psychological Safety at Work - Deepstash
Fostering Psychological Safety In The Workplace

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Fostering Psychological Safety In The Workplace

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Psychological safety in the workplace

Psychological safety in the workplace

Dr. Amy Edmondson (who coined the term psychological safety), defines it as, "a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes."

This is a critical factor for high-performing teams.

Teams with strong psychological safety are less afraid of the negative consequences that may result from:

  • Taking smart risks
  • Making mistakes
  • Sharing their opinions within their team
  • Being candid with one another.


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Why does psychological safety matter?

  • Teams that feel empowered to share their perspectives with each other, especially when their opinions differ from the rest of the group.
  • These teams are more likely to take initiative and consider the full picture of each situation. This in turn enables the team to innovate and find effective solutions.
  • Psychological safety is also critical to a team's ability to give and receive candid, respectful feedback.
  • Google's research on characteristics of high-performing teams identified psychological safety as their top indicator of the performance of a team.


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How to measure psychological safety

How to measure psychological safety

One way to measure psychological safety in your organization is through employee surveys. Consider asking questions that measure employees' perceptions of psychological safety both at work and within their team.

When reviewing your results, focus your data analysis at the team-level, rather than within the organization overall. While it's valuable to have an understanding of the level psychological safety throughout your organization, any action that you take to improve psychological safety will be most effective within teams.


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How to create psychological safety at work

  • Build self-awareness in your team (recognizing how you prefer to think and behave)
  • Demonstrate concern for team members as people.
  • Ask for questions, different viewpoints, and considerations that have not yet been voiced.
  • Provide multiple ways for employees to share their thoughts.
  • Show appreciation for ideas.
  • Encourage team members to use positive language to inspire honest conversations.
  • Be precise with information, expectations, and commitments.
  • Be clear about what changed and why and give your team members time to process the change.
  • Own up to mistakes and celebrate failures as learnings.


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