What comes to mind when you think of workplace Psychological Safety?
It might feel like quite a daunting concept that has been buzzing around the corporate sphere for the past few years. Rest assured, we’re here to help debunk the myths surrounding psychological safety and help you build a psychologically safe environment in your workplace.
So, how do we define psychological safety?
Amy Edmonson from Harvard Business School understands psychological safety as “a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.” It’s about creating the optimal workplace environment that prioritises productivity and learning, as well as employee satisfaction.
Now we’ve defined exactly what it is let’s dive right into looking at some of the deceiving myths surrounding psychological safety:
- It’s about the individual.
Psychological safety in the workplace is primarily about how colleagues interact with each other as a team, rather than as individual people. Of course, it’s important for everyone to feel safe in their work environment but that largely comes from creating a safe workplace environment that helps to foster trust and open communication between employees.
- Everyone must always agree.
No one can agree with each other 100% of the time! If your workplace environment prioritises maintaining a comfortable environment over the quality of staff learning and development, it’s likely going to lead to an unhealthy workplace environment. Respectful debate and disagreements can be healthy and lead to higher productivity and learning levels in the workplace when they have been communicated effectively.
- Psychological safety means lowering performance standards.
Creating a healthy work environment does not have to come at the expense of your business. The foundations of psychological safety are mutual respect between colleagues (including those in positions of leadership), maintaining high standards for the company’s performance and ensuring everyone takes accountability for their actions. Psychological safety values team collaboration to help businesses reach their full potential.
It’s vital that we bring awareness to the importance of psychological safety in workplace environments, in fact a pre-pandemic survey demonstrated that only 3/10 employees truly believed that their opinions counted in their place of work.
A workplace with adequate psychological safety measures in place are more likely to see employees:
– Give and receive feedback.
– Ask for clarification.
– Take accountability for any errors.
To learn more about the importance of psychological safety in the workplace take a look at our whitepaper on What Every Leader Needs to Know About Psychological Safety.