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Fostering Psychological Safety in Teams

July 1, 2024

Psychological safety is the foundation of a healthy and high-performing team. Harvard Professor Amy Edmondson’s seminal research highlights its critical role in today’s knowledge economy. When employees lack the freedom to speak up, organizations miss out on opportunities for growth and innovation. Psychological safety is the belief that you can take risks, make mistakes, and express your thoughts and ideas without fear of negative consequences. When present, it leads to increased creativity, collaboration, productivity, and employee well-being. Individuals feel valued, heard, and empowered, experiencing lower stress levels and higher job satisfaction and motivation. This enhances overall productivity and retention rates.

This article explores three tactics to help you foster psychological safety in your team.

1. Communicate Openly and Non-Judgmentally

Effective communication is at the heart of any successful team. To restore psychological safety, it’s essential to create an environment where open and non-judgmental communication is encouraged.

2. Build Trust Through Team Building and Bonding

Trust is the cornerstone of psychological safety. When team members trust each other, they are more likely to speak up, take risks, and collaborate effectively.

3. Foster a Culture of Learning

Promoting continuous growth and development is essential for maintaining psychological safety. When team members feel valued and have opportunities for improvement, they engage more actively.

Here are ways to communicate openly, build trust and a culture of learning:
  • Active Listening – Encourage others to share their perspective while giving them your full attention.
  • Lead with Consistency – Ensure leaders are consistent in their actions and decisions to build trust.
  • Celebrate Learning from Mistakes – Embrace culture that views mistakes as learning opportunities.

Psychological safety needs to be communicated during the candidate experience to ensure you have employees who embrace this culture.  It is crucial for team and organizational success. It allows team members to take interpersonal risks without fearing negative consequences, fostering innovation, collaboration, and overall performance. By fostering open communication, building trust, and promoting a culture of learning, teams can create a psychologically safe environment that drives success and well-being.


By Linda Olejniczak, courtesy of SBAM-approved partner, ASE.

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