Eager to crack the code to a healthy work culture?
Whether you manage a small team or a big organisation, you hold the key to a culture of psychological safety in the workplace. This is because a team that lacks effective management often experiences negative consequences such as disorganisation, decreased productivity, communication challenges, and a general sense of uncertainty surrounding goals and performance expectations.
To achieve a healthy work environment, leaders need to adopt a top-down approach, by gradually instilling a new set of behaviours as the standard.
Before diving into the importance of leadership to incite impactful change, if the concept of psychological safety is new to you, we’ve written a blog post specifically outlining what psychological safety is along with a white paper giving you key information that every leader must know, click here to read.
The Importance of Leadership
Strong leadership is the foundation of every team. One of the misconceptions around psychological safety is that you must be a “Yes!” leader. In reality, while saying yes to new ideas can be beneficial for an organisation, it’s equally important to establish clear boundaries and have the ability to recognise what could lead to success, and what is merely people-pleasing.
Effective leadership provides direction, inspiration, and motivation for individuals and teams, guiding them toward common goals and objectives. They are also able to navigate challenges, make tough decisions, and create a sense of purpose and unity within the organisation.
Qualities of an Effective Leader:
- Communication: It’s important that leaders can hold difficult conversations. Communicating openly isn’t always nice, in fact it can be very challenging. However, it is the responsibility of the leader to maintain the standard that communication must always be a priority.
- Integrity: Integrity is the foundation of trust. An ethical leader maintains that honesty should always be a priority, and demonstrates this in how they engage with their team.
- Accountability: An effective leader is able to take accountability for their actions and performance, and encourage their team to follow suit. Taking accountability should be an accepted norm in a working environment and not something that is feared due to negative consequences of coming forward with mistakes/errors.
- Commitment to Learning and Development: Leaders should be committed to continually learning and evolving as professionals. It is also the leaders opportunity to ensure their team have the opportunities to develop within their roles too, to avoid feelings of stagnancy.
Psychological Safety: Overcoming the Challenges
So, we’ve identified some of the qualities of a great leader but how does this translate into creating a psychologically safe working culture?
As a leader it’s important to understand that psychological safety isn’t just a trend. Rather, it’s a genuine way to establish a healthy work culture that can lead to long term business success.
If psychological safety is introduced as a new company procedure, the likelihood is it’s going to cause a number of your team to feel fatigued and unenthusiastic about the new workplace standards. Instead, as the leader you should be altering your behaviour to set new workplace standards. Perhaps start by implementing regular feedback sessions, ask staff for their opinions and create open conversation.
Psychological safety requires a commitment, so it’s important to ask “why?” you want to create change in your workplace culture. Find your purpose, and then set in motion actions that will help you and your team reach company goals and objectives.
By embracing psychological safety, you not only have the opportunity to enhance the quality of work but also the quality of your team’s work life. Through implementing this cultural shift, you set the stage for continuous improvement, resilience in the face of challenges, and long-term growth.