High performing teams have one thing in common: psychological safety.
Psychological safety in the workplace essentially refers to the shared belief that taking interpersonal risks as a group is safe. These risks include freely sharing creative ideas and speaking up when there is an issue with the team dynamics, among others.
According to a People Management Report in 2019, business leaders or managers who develop psychologically safe work environments have fewer chances of experiencing employee turnover on their teams. In other words, in order to retain top performers in your company, you should ensure psychological safety across the entire organisation.
If you are unsure whether your employees or colleagues feel psychologically safe, this article might be of help to you. Below, we share some of the best tips for effectively creating psychological safety in your workplace.
Establish a Culture of Trust
For many experts, psychological safety is best described by a team climate that is filled with mutual respect and interpersonal trust. It is essentially a work environment in which individuals are comfortable being themselves. Hence, if you want to create psychological safety in your organisation, you need to work proactively to earn and extend trust from and to your employees or colleagues.
The first and most important step in building trust within your team is to know one another on a more profound level. In Singapore, team building workshops are usually centred around this. They aim to help team members get to know one another more and establish trusting and respectful work relationships that increase satisfaction and productivity.
To foster psychological safety in your workplace, it is necessary to develop a culture where mistakes are allowed instead of condemned. It is essential to explain to your employees or colleagues that mistakes are not only allowed, but they are fundamental and they result in greater business growth. To do so, you also need to inform your team when you commit mistakes.
In essence, psychological safety promotes the belief that someone who speaks up with concerns, ideas, or even mistakes will never be punished. This is very important since creating an environment wherein everyone feels comfortable taking risks is key to championing innovation in the workplace. Ultimately, risks can only be taken when people are not afraid of getting punished as a consequence.
Be Open to Feedback
Most of the time, leaders are responsible for making the final judgment call on a variety of decisions. Your team must know that you are confident in taking this responsibility. However, at the same time, it is also important to show them that you have a flexible decision-making approach and that you are open to feedback.
In a psychologically safe work environment, everyone feels empowered to give feedback. This means they are comfortable enough to go straight to your office when there is crucial information to share. If you want your team members to feel psychologically safe at work, invite them to challenge your perspectives. Although this can be uncomfortable at first, healthy conflict ultimately results in greater accountability and better decisions.
Include Everyone in Decision Making
As mentioned earlier, flexibility is essential when it comes to making decisions. Flexibility means you are open to other people’s ideas and viewpoints instead of merely imposing your own decisions. When making decisions, it is necessary to consult your team as much as possible. Ask for their thoughts, input, and feedback.
Not only will this help your employees or colleagues feel included in the company’s decision-making process, but it will also foster psychological safety in the workplace and pave the way for better outcomes. Once a decision has been reached, it is also your responsibility to explain the rationale behind your decision to all of your team members. This way, they will feel truly included in the process.
Overall, if you want your team members to be more productive and satisfied with their jobs, you need to make sure that psychological safety is a priority in your workplace. You can do so by building a culture of trust, allowing mistakes and feedback, and having an inclusive decision-making process, among others. Remember, as a business leader, manager, HR professional, or even just an individual contributor, the atmosphere you create at work has the power to make or break your team’s success.
If you wish to learn how to foster psychological safety and become a better leader at work, explore our leadership development workshops. At StrengthsAsia, we are dedicated to helping people become excellent leaders who facilitate workplace safety and success. Our wide array of workshops is designed to allow our clients to develop stronger leaders and employees and to nurture good team relationships. To find out more about StrengthsAsia and the courses we offer, you can get in touch with us here.