Published on June 10, 2023

In 2023, How Might Psychological Safety Increase Team Success?

Building a psychologically safe workplace has been increasingly popular in recent years. Creating a safe space where team members can voice their thoughts without fear of retaliation has been found to increase productivity. 

The importance of promoting psychological safety in the workplace is expected to grow in 2023 as businesses realize the positive effects it has on employee morale, creativity, and health. This article explores the concept of psychological safety, its importance to teams, and the actions that can be taken to foster it in the coming year.

Psychological Safety: What Is It?

Psychological safety is becoming increasingly important in the workplace; its goal is to make workers feel safe in voicing their ideas without fear of retaliation. Collaboration and originality flourish in environments where coworkers trust and respect one another.

When businesses provide psychological safety training to their employees, they can ensure they feel secure speaking up. The program contributes to the development of a welcoming environment in which people of all backgrounds and perspectives can freely express themselves without fear of reprisal. By providing training in psychological safety, businesses can help their employees perform at their best.

Why Does Psychological Safety Matter?

When organizations do not promote psychological safety, they lose out on employee creativity, energy, and productivity. Organizations can gain more creativity, energy, and productivity when employees are unafraid to fail, be ignored, voice dissenting opinions, request assistance, or provide honest feedback.

Psychological safety must be perceived as an integral part of inclusion. Without a sense of belonging at work, employees cannot devote themselves to their work or find the motivation to succeed.

A lack of psychological safety could cause employees to leave, resulting in the loss of their skills and expertise due to deteriorating mental and physical health. As a consequence of the pandemic, staff fatigue and turnover have increased. Recent research indicates that only 26% of American employees felt emotionally secure during the pandemic, while the majority reported higher levels of burnout, stress, and loneliness.

Are You Working in a Psychologically Safe Environment?

A leader may ask a few questions to assess their teams’ psychological safety and identify areas for development.

Is error tolerance practiced?

How do you respond when a teammate commits an error? Accept it and use it as a learning opportunity, or hold it against team members and even punish them? If employees are candid about their errors, rather than avoiding them or attempting to cover them up, this indicates that they feel psychological safety.

Are all opinions equally valued?

The most effective groups don’t have a predetermined chain of command for developing new ideas and taking on new tasks. No matter their position or seniority, all employees should be able to voice their honest views. It’s beneficial if the team members’ points of view come from a wide range of experiences and perspectives.

Is it encouraged to take risks?

If leaders fail to encourage employee suggestions, they may soon find themselves surrounded by uncommunicative employees. Allow employees to try new things, speak up, express concerns, and constantly probe for explanations. Employee participation, ownership, and engagement can all see a rise when employees are encouraged to take such risks.

The Psychological Safety of the Workplace

One of the best ways to build psychological safety in a team is to treat it as a priority. If managers make the issue of employees’ mental health a top priority, the workforce will follow suit. The team will benefit much from making psychological safety a priority.

1. Understand Personality

Human actions are motivated by one’s unique personality. It explains our motivations and behavior. Leaders and team members can better understand their reputations by learning about the daily strengths, possible derailers, and motives and values of each team member. Knowing oneself is crucial in any form of strategic planning.

Leaders can better assist their team members’ communication and learning styles and increase engagement if they fully grasp the various personality types. Team members are better able to regulate their actions and foster positive interactions. Personality aids in creating a psychologically secure workplace by giving workers the confidence they need to give their entire selves to their work.

2. Model Psychological Safety

Leaders establish team standards. When leaders exhibit humility, authenticity, and vulnerability, they instill a sense of psychological safety in their teams.

Team members that actively listen, seek input, take responsibility, normalize failure, and treat others respectfully create a more secure environment for everyone. When leaders make an effort to include everyone, employees feel more at ease, and the team as a whole performs better.

Leaders who aren’t afraid to discuss their emotions and difficulties encourage their followers to do the same. A leader’s ability to de-escalate a quarrel by shifting focus from blame to curiosity demonstrates their growth attitude. Leadership practices that promote psychological safety in a team include not interrupting others, expressing gratitude for team members’ inquiries and contributions, and speaking politely.

3. Select Respect

Psychological safety should be considered when selecting leaders. Having a favorable team climate and, by extension, a sense of psychological safety among team members is facilitated by supportive, consultative behaviors. Leaders skilled at people development, connection building, and maximizing the value of diversity, among other things, are likely to establish a culture of trust among their teams. These skills closely mirror one’s character traits.

A leader must be motivated to foster open, positive, and team-oriented communication to establish psychological safety within a team. Those with high levels of Affiliation (MVPI) and relatively high levels of Sociability (HPI) are likely to be effective norm setters. A leader’s Altruistic score (MVPI) is linked to how they’ll interact with staff members and signal that they value them and their professional development.

Polite leaders, care about others, and can motivate others are desirable traits for any organization.

4. Measure Psychological Safety

Only 30% of U.S. employees are adamant that their opinions are valued at work. This is a disappointing statistic for both talented professionals and leaders. Increasing a team’s psychological safety requires planning, research, and concrete objectives.

The most effective strategies for acquiring information about a team may include attentive listening and casual check-ins at regular intervals. The level of psychological safety within a company’s teams can be measured through polls and surveys. Arguably less crucial than the real aim to learn if employees feel safe offering their ideas is the data collection approach.

Final Thought

If we now consider the potential impact of psychological safety on an actual team in the workplace, likely, psychological safety will positively affect the relationships and interactions between team members. Team members will feel more motivated to work together in such an atmosphere. As a result, team members are more likely to pitch in and help out.

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