C-Suite Network™

Psychological Safety as a Leadership Tool

With a different way of using thinking style and learning to help your employees create, innovate and produce greater than they have been, implementing psychological safety as a strategy gives leaders a way to create high-performing teams.

Leaders of a company want employees to get along and be productive in the work they are given. Too many times though leaders know that a conflict or two- many appear and that employees should be able to work out the difficulty. When it comes to resolving this issue, as a strategy to both improve employee interactions and to increase productivity using psychological safety helps you do both.

In creating, generating, producing creativity, you need the powerhouse employees you hired who are skilled and talented in these areas. The problem is that their skills and talent is squelched by the circle of a team within the team who put others down.

Get to know your work team employees. Set up either a breakfast, lunch or dinner where everyone from the team attends and brings a pot luck item. Let everyone talk about something other people don’t know about them that they want their team to know. It could be what skills they have and hope to bring with them on each project they work on.

Psychological safety can do great things for team performance. And why not? If team members feel safe and it’s easier to build trust — that helps elevate performance. Psychological safety is more important you may think. The advantages to implementing this concept helps you and your organization move forward and allows you, the leader, to stand out in your business.

Develop an Open Mindset

“Increased psychological safety is linked to everything from higher engagement and well-being to improved ideation and implementation.” –

In order to break free of judgment and strengthen the relationship between team members, it’s important to have an open mindset. Often you may look at things from your own lens, but approaching them from a different angle can help bring perspective. In order to develop an open mindset at the workplace:

Rather than criticism, encourage teams and individuals to see feedback as a way to strengthen and build upon their ideas and processes. Be open to opinions that differ from your own.

Ask Encourage Questions

“Increased psychological safety is linked to everything from higher engagement and well-being to improved ideation and implementation.

Create a safe place for feedback

As a team leader, and as a member of a larger leadership team yourself, start thinking about psychological safety with reflective questions. Ask relevant questions to your team members. Also have your team members ask questions of understanding, curiosity and of how specific things will work.

People don’t get good though unless they are given an opportunity. An opportunity to make mistakes, to express thoughts, ideas, and opinions, or feel comfortable in the group/team they work in without consequences helps you and they be more productive. An open exchange of ideas, thoughts and opinions helps stimulate team members to think of other questions to ask.

Admitting to Making Mistakes

The most successful teams were those who, ironically, make the most errors. How successful are your work teams or organization with admitting to errors or mistakes while producing great results? Acknowledging your mistakes can help you and your team members to produce better results.

Frame Failures as Learning Opportunities

Keep in Mind All the Benefits of Psychological Safety. There are more benefits that help move your organization forward than you may think.

Encourages Speaking Up- Giving and receiving feedback without consequences

Create a Safe Place for Feedback- Clarify why speaking up is valued and reinforce that through ongoing messages and behaviors.

Employees using the skills and talent they were hired for- You may even find that your disengaged employees will start to become engaged again.

High self-esteem

Greater breakthrough results

Higher revenue for the organization

When people don’t feel safe, they are less inclined to take risks. Fear prevents employees from speaking up, providing honest feedback, or sharing their ideas.

The Cost of Silence is Deceiving

Companies waste millions of dollars. That’s the price they pay because their employees don’t speak up. Organizations have a silence problem, but most don’t realize it. It’s hard to detect when employees are not being honest. Silence can encourage group-think and default consensus — people keep their ideas to themselves.

Psychological safety is the foundation of high-performing teams

Psychological safety is the foundation of high-performing teams. It’s one of the most important components of a great business, but you don’t hear much about it. Psychological safety may even get your disengaged employees engaged again. Great leaders make fostering psychological safety a top priority. Create a safe place for feedback as your employees have been held back from expressing themselves due to consequences they expect yet not test.

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