The three components of psychological safety that are perceived in the workplace are respect, inclusion, and trust. It is a simple equation: (R + I) x T = PS (psychological safety). A recent blog by Dr. Ken Woodside, partner at The Luminous Group, looked closely at how to create a psychologically safe workplace.
A psychologically safe workplace begins with a feeling of belonging created by an empathetic leadership and respect. Organizations that have clear and frequent communication, allow for questions and feedback, and express appreciation and gratitude have developed a culture that includes psychological safety.
Fostering a culture of inclusion includes growing self-confidence, taking a real interest in others, being aware of cultural differences, and developing competencies to sustain these initiatives. Inclusion safety satisfies the basic human need to connect and belong. Employees feel safe to be themselves and make valuable contributions.
Trust is the multiplier. Positive interactions and conversations are built on trust between individuals. Build trust by giving praise, avoiding gossip, and sharing information learned. For extra credit, invest in your employees’ development. When you get to this part of the equation you feel safe to exchange, ask questions, receive feedback, experiment, and fail. Build a culture that allows your workforce to speak up and challenge an idea.
How does this work virtually? Remote work can increase the opportunity to connect but it can also be a breeding ground for unwanted behavior. Diane Johnston, MA, LPC, Vice President at Thaar Care Foundation for Affordable Counseling states, “Creating a psychologically safe culture starts with respectful communication. Kind and professional emails, phone calls, and zoom meetings. At home we may feel more comfortable confronting others in a way we would not do in person. Be respectful of others and be mindful of what you say and write to others. Recognize when staff needs a break from burnout and encourage time off and promote regular work hours.” This great advice can be applied in person or remotely.
The highest-performing teams have one thing in common: psychological safety — the belief that you will not be punished when you make a mistake. Create a work environment that is safe for risk-taking and the organizational culture will become more robust, dynamic, and innovative.