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Creating Cultures of Psychological Safety in the Workplace

 The first time someone told me they didn’t “feel safe” at work, I immediately thought they were in physical danger. It was only after they explained their perspective of what they were experiencing that I understood the concept of psychological safety.

Feeling psychologically safe at work means different things to different people. Still, it means that you can show up to work without the fear of humiliation or embarrassment after speaking up or messing up. It means that you trust you are getting transparent feedback and will not be disciplined or fired. It means that you don’t feel the need to document every conversation you have with your boss to CYA.

The Great Resignation has taught us that many employees don’t feel psychologically safe at work. They’ve lost trust that their employers will do the right thing for themselves and others in the workplace. Therefore, employees have elected to leave the workplace altogether or search for workplaces that promote cultures of psychological safety.

So, what does a culture that promotes psychological safety look like?

  • Leaders model safe behavior by admitting mistakes, being vulnerable, and asking for help.
  • Creating an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up and giving feedback
  • Encouraging collaboration and teamwork
  • Developing clear communication norms
  • Make sure everyone understands the company’s values and how they are expected to behave to uphold those values.

Last week, I hosted a LinkedIn audio event to discuss psychological safety in the workplace. Listeners were able to share their experiences when they didn’t feel psychologically safe and provide recommendations for organizations to create cultures of psychological safety.

Take a listen.

By the way, subscribe to my Youtube channel to watch all of the past episodes of my Linkedin Live and Audio events.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Book my sought-after keynote talk UNMASKED: Turning Pain Into Purpose. How I am using my bipolar diagnosis to create cultures of wellness in the workplace.

Natasha Bowman is the President of Performance ReNEW and author of You Can’t Do That at Work! (2017) and The Power of One: Leading with Civility, Candor, and Courage (2022).

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