What is Psychological Safety?
Your team will experience this when they feel safe and confident enough to take calculated risks. Feeling safe also means they can speak up without worrying about getting punished or humiliated. They are more creative and motivated when they feel safe. Any negative response, anger or reprimands from bosses or even colleagues can affect the productivity and mental wellbeing of the team members.
So, leaders have a big role to play in creating a psychologically safe environment within the team.
How to ensure your team members feel safe?
Leader should emphasize the shared purpose and vision of the organization and ensure that the team’s efforts are focused towards the same.
Leaders can talk about the culture of “It is ok to take calculated risks” or “It won’t be the end of the world if you fail”. At the same time, leaders should also discourage any derogatory or disrespectful responses when team members come up with ideas. They can say something like let us hear the person out” or “let us see how we can build on top of that idea”. The same applies when someone’s ideas fail. Again, foster a culture where people can learn from their mistakes. “What could have been done differently so that…”
If someone is struggling, throw the question to the rest of the team – “how can we help this team member?”
The concept of hybrid working has brought fairly new challenges to the workspace.
The pandemic has brought to surface many fears, challenges and insecurities. These include fear of losing a loved one or the challenges of managing a household or working productively in a work from home’ or hybrid atmosphere. The smallest of imbalance at home can create unrest within the team member and affect their productivity. The team members should feel secure enough to bring this up and discuss it with their team leader.
Prior to the pandemic, discussing your home situation and its challenges with your team leader was almost unheard of. There was a clear boundary where work life ended and home life started. But COVID has blurred this boundary line and in the current hybrid culture, the reality is that home life and working life encroach greatly on each other. Therefore, it is important that leaders have a basic understanding of the home circumstances for each of their team members.
They may need to have regular conversations with team members who are either working from home or following a hybrid pattern.
They should enquire and monitor whether they are comfortable with their working pattern. The team members should know that it is okay for them to share any challenges they face at home.
It is okay (for the leaders) to be vulnerable and share some of your own challenges with your team members.
These steps contribute positively to the psychological safety of your team members making them feel safe and able to function at their best.
What steps can you take to improve the Psychological safety in your team? Please share that in your comments.
About Coach Johncey
Johncey George is an International Coaching Federation accredited Leadership and Life Coach. He is a ICF PCC and an empaneled coach with several organizations.
Here are some key programs Johncey conducts:
1:1 Executive Leadership Coaching for Introvert Leaders
Group Coaching on the following topics
Strategic Thinking Mindset (https://www.strategicthinking.in)
First Time Manager Success Program (Micro-Video based 30-day program) (https://www.FirstTimeManager.in)
Do reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more details about the same.