What is Psychological Safety?
Psychological safety is broadly defined as a climate in which people are comfortable expressing and being themselves. In her book, “The Fearless Organization”, Professor Edmondson laid the foundation for the modern understanding of psychological safety and the role it plays in creating successful teams. According to Edmondson, psychological safety is “a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.”
Psychological Safety: The Key Ingredient for High-Performance Teamwork
When Psychological Safety is high, good things happen; mistakes are reported quickly so prompt corrective action can be taken, and seamless coordination across groups or departments creates a perfect melting pot where potentially game-changing ideas are incubated, shared, and improved upon. In short, psychological safety is a crucial source of value creation in organizations that want to operate on the leading edge of what is possible in a complex, rapidly-changing environment.
Why Is Psychological Safety The Gateway To Success?
Edmondson’s research clearly shows that organizations with a high level of psychological safety perform better on almost every metric or KPI of success, compared to organizations that have a low psychological safety score. Google, in its extensive two-year research program, titled “Project Aristotle”, also came to this conclusion after studying 15,000 of its employees comprising various teams.
This simply means that, for you to be successful in your team, and “as a team”, psychological safety is a critical enabler. So, how do you go about identifying and improving the level of psychological safety in your team? This is where our certified Psychological Safety consultants come in.
How Is Psychological Safety Measured?
Psychological Safety is measured based on four primary dimensions which are reflected in the scan report. These are:
- Attitude to risk and failure: The degree to which it is permissible to make mistakes.
- Open conversations: The degree to which difficult and sensitive topics can be discussed openly.
- Willingness to help: The degree to which people are willing to help one another.
- Inclusivity and diversity: The degree to which team members can be themselves and are welcomed for this.
With a good understanding of the shape of psychological safety in your teams, you are in a better position to take corrective action.
How To Improve Psychologically Safety?
Here’s what our process looks like, beginning from when we first administer the scan, to succeeding steps we take to help increase psychological safety in your teams:
Step 1: Give scan to participants on a team
Step 2: Evaluate results with stakeholders and review goal alignment
Step 3: Debrief scan results with participants
Step 4: Intervention, training, and group facilitation
Step 5: Repeat scan at key milestones to ensure interventions are succeeding
Step 6: Make necessary adjustments based on scan results
At the intervention, training, and group facilitation stage, we will work with your managers and team members to strengthen team bonds, clarify leadership, and lay the foundations for a strong, successful, and psychologically safe team.