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Fostering Psychological Safety At Work

Posted on January 18th, 2021



Psychological safety is the basis for a good team performance says a study from Google. The study quoted, "Employees should feel that their office and work environment are psychologically safe."

The long-term aftermaths of an office that lacks psychological safety are harsh. The negative outcomes affect both employees and employers. As long as employees are afraid to be what they are, the success of a company is always in question.

So, with this being clear, how do you know if you’re giving that freedom and responsibility for your employees to be what they are and express openly without the fear of negative penalties.

Well, ask the below questions to yourself….

  • Do my employees feel safe to voice out opinions to their respective leaders/management?
  • Is there a candid atmosphere for them for an open conversation?
  • Are they allowed to chase their own ideas without micromanagement?
  • Are my employees trusting me and my organization?
  • Are they allowed to raise potential disagreements or conflicts?
  • Are they allowed to trespass the hierarchy when needed?
  • Finally, do I have a minimum time for my employees?

If your answer falls under the negative category for the majority of the questions, then it's time you gear up to create psychological safety for your employees so that they excel and you excel.

Below are the recommendations from leaders:

  1. Follow the Golden Rule:
  2. The thumb rule to foster psychological safety in your office is to respect others as they would like to be respected. Take time to know how they would like to let their emotions flow out.

  3. See Conflict as a Negotiator, Not an Opponent:
  4. It is always a difficult task to sail through differences with a team member. Most of the time, when we are slighted, our course of action without hesitation is to shield ourselves, our position, and our stand. Unfortunately, this creates a tense work environment and a flared-up relation.

    Consider modifying your perspective from, “How do I amend your opinion or mend you to act the way I want?” to, “What is the best means for us to team up for an answer for this problem?” Doing so will set the cushion for the collaboration and ultimately prevent something unhealthy to bud up and spiral.

  5. Voice Person-to-Person:
  6. Under most of the work-related differences lie fundamental human desires such as feel powerful, be autonomous, receive respect and be an expert in one’s chores. It is vital to remember that same as you, the other person in the argument and disagreement wishes to get away from the state of affairs without getting hurt. He wishes for a happy ending. When you are particularly enraged at your colleague(s), bear in mind:

    • The other person has perspectives, opinions and beliefs same as me.
    • The other person has vulnerabilities, anxieties and hopes same as me.
    • The other person has family, friends, and possibly children who love him/her the same as me.
    • The other person wants to be respected, appreciated and feels capable the same as me.
    • The other person desires joy, happiness and peace same as me.

    This minor mental recap goes a long way in maintaining the conversation psychologically safe.

  7. Substitute Blame-game with Curiosity:
  8. If your teammates come to know that you are attempting to play the blame game, they will turn aloof and see every act and word of yours from a different angle (possibly negative). So, instead of playing a foul game bring in curiosity. This will move you from a, “I’m aware of what they are thinking,” mindset to a, “I wish to know how they are thinking,” mind frame. Steer it the below way:

    • Opine problematical behaviours as explanations and not allegations using unbiased language.
    • Participate in an assessment around likely causes.
    • Give credit to the second person so that they feel authorized and bestowed with responsibility.
    • Focus on only what would be a mutual benefit.

    Follow these 4 golden rules and you, as a responsible employer (if you are) will set the foundation for the psychological safety of your employees.

    Remember that a psychological foundation is needed for organizational innovation, learning, and to go beyond excellence. A readiness to be watchful during thought-provoking discussions, accepting wrongs, and a small pause before responding will make your employers safe and eventually, they will go that extra mile to work for you and themselves.

#Workadvice, #workatmosphere, #employeebehaviour, #employerapproach, #psychologicalsafety, #psychologicalsafetyintheworkplace