Why does psychological safety matter? - Deepstash

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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MORE IDEAS FROM 9 Strategies 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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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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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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RELATED IDEA

Intellectual Diversity

One of the things that make up a great organization is one that consists of a handful variety of capable intellectuals.

People who have differing perspectives in a group are more likely to generate unique and sometimes, unusual ideas due to their differences in the environment they grew up in - ranging from their education to life experiences.

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Argument against remote work

The argument is that while remote employees may be more personally productive, the team creativity and innovation suffer. People really need spontaneous interactions at the water cooler or break room or at happy hours to foster serendipity that drives innovation.

People who support the Office-Serendipity Theory of Innovation like to cite Jobs' views to support the idea that "most people should work in an office." But the theory suffers from anecdotal evidence of chance office encounters.

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The transition from WFH to the office
  • Strong HR strategies. Not only can an HR team connect and support individual employees, but also use their platform to teach employees how to support each other, creating a positive chain of office-based encouragement.
  • Taking the transition back into the office at your company’s own pace is also vital if you want to prioritise mental health on the return to work.
  • When your team has returned to the office, a great way to reinitiate team bonding and introduce staff members to the post-pandemic working future is the introduction of wellbeing workshops.
  • Ergonomic care, too. Prioritizing ergonomic welfare is often forgotten within the office, leading to a whopping 86 percent of office workers sitting for up to 8 hours a day.
  • Prioritize those still working from home. As 30 percent of the corporate workforce still remains at home in 2021, it’s important for employers not to exclude them from post-pandemic well-being schemes

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