Psychological Safety for the Road Ahead

Psychological Safety

Over the last few months, we’ve had to adjust the way we work. For many of us, this has meant working in more remote ways and finding creative ways to stay connected, often missing the opportunity for that spontaneous chat at our desk, the coffee machine or in the hallway!

At times it has also presented challenges to the way we speak up, offer ideas and offer our opinions.

We’ve always been big believers in the power of psychological safety, but COVID-19 has reinforced to us the importance of fostering this in our teams.

Psychological safety is the belief that the work environment is safe for interpersonal risk taking. The experience of feeling able to speak up with relevant ideas, questions or concerns. – Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organisation

 In her work, Amy recommends that we should focus our attention on 3 things:

  1. Set the stage for it.

 Don’t be afraid to show your human side. Acknowledging your own uncertainties, doubts, mistakes and worries will help to fast track trust and create more openness. It also signals that learning is important, especially during COVID-19 where there is a huge opportunity to learn in the moment and importantly, from each other.

  1. Invite input.

Schedule in daily virtual check-ins and ask powerful questions: What do you think? What views do you have on this? What are we missing? How might we? What’s on your mind? Who has a different perspective? What are your ideas about this? What else do you think? If you are working remotely, it’s even more important to invite this input intentionally and often.

  1. Respond proactively.

If you invite input, let people know they have been heard and understood. This doesn’t mean saying yes, but it does involve thanking people for their contribution and following through – this becomes even more important when we are not face-to-face.

Let us know in the comments below how you are building psychological safety in your team right now?