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Psychological Safety. Huh?
What does it mean and why should I care?
Psychological safety is a key component of engagement. Amy Edmonson, Harvard professor of leadership, coined the term psychological safety in 1999, but what is it, really? And practically, how can you foster it in the workplace?
What is it?
In its simplest form, it is the ability to speak up in a work environment without the fear of being humiliated and penalized. In other words, it’s enabling team members to bring their authentic selves to work without fear of repercussion. Businesses that nurture psychological safety experience many benefits:
- 76% more engagement
- 50% more productivity
- 27% reduction in turnover
- 74% less stress
How can you foster it?
As a leader or a team member, there are many easy, doable actions you can take to cultivate psychological safety.
1. Talk less, listen more. Be present and engaged when others express their ideas.
2. Seek to understand. Avoid assumptions and ask questions to ensure you fully understand their perspective.
3. Nip negativity in the bud. Let team members know it’s not okay to bash one another.
4. Embrace conflict. Teach people how to have disagreements in a productive way.
5. Include others in decision making. Ask for input when making decisions and explain reasoning after decision are made.
6. Don’t rush to fix things. Allow team members to think through their own challenges, which builds trust.
Keep this list handy. In your next meeting, try to utilize one of these tips.