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Psychological Safety: Empower your team.

Psychological safety refers to the feeling of being able to speak up, take risks, and make mistakes without fear of negative consequences. The term psychological safety was first coined by Amy Edmondson, a professor at Harvard Business School [1999].


But, how do you know if your employees feel psychologically safe and empowered to do their job?


Can you and your leadership answer the following questions about your employees? I know, the natural response is "of course, we empower our employees and encourage them to be heard."


But, can you prove they all feel that way?


1.Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?

2.Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?

3.Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?

4.Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?

5.Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?


I would challenge leaders to actually reach out to their employees during a 1:1 and ask them the questions. You may be surprised by the responses.


It's natural to believe as a leader you are fair, equitable and inclusive with everyone on your team. You don't play favorites. While you may strive for that, it's not always the case. There are some on your team who feel they don't have a voice, they can't contribute for fear of someone judging them. As leaders it is our responsibility to engage our teams - drive innovation and model the behavior we want from others.


Remember, people working in a psychologically safe environment feel included, accepted and respected. They are free to learn, experiment and to respectfully challenge the status quo without fear of being punished, embarrassed or marginalized.




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