There is no team without trust – a great way trust can be cultivated is by creating psychologically safe environments. Psychological safety is the belief that your environment is safe for interpersonal risk taking. When we propose a new idea, voice a concern, or challenge the norm, we bear interpersonal risk—the possibility of being denounced, discredited, penalized or humiliated if we fail, make a mistake or are proven wrong. In a psychologically safe environment, we firmly believe that that these negative outcomes will not occur; this leads to openness, honesty, creativity, and ignites emotions such as trust.
Some Tips for Growing Psychological Safety on Your Teams:
1. Approach conflict as a collaborator, not an adversary.
2. Speak human to human – Treat people like people.
3. Foster a culture of respectful dissent and debate.
4. Promote the development of friendships and encourage collaboration.
5. Provide room to experiment and fail
6. Replace blame with curiosity.
7. Ask for feedback
Studies show that psychological safety allows for interpersonal risk-taking – In these environments, you can “stick your neck out without the fear of having it cut off” — It empowers employees to Speak Up and Challenge. A lack of psychological safety is a major contributor to organizational errors and failures; where it is lacking, employees are less likely to challenge the status quo. A reluctance to speak up is extremely problematic around work that has higher risk of serious injury or catastrophe. Cultivating psychological safety fosters an environment where all team members feel empowered to question systems, to challenge the behaviors and decisions of others, and to call out questionable practices – people are empowered to find problems and fix problems.
If you create this sense of psychological safety on your team or within you organization, you can expect to see higher levels of engagement, trust, openness, increased motivation to tackle difficult problems, and more learning and betterment opportunities.