Psychological Safety at work : Everything you need to know

Memory Nguwi / Posted On: 12 April 2022 / Updated On: 30 September 2022 / Organisational Development / 235

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Psychological  Safety at work : Everything you need to know



Psychological safety is the feeling of security and trust that comes from being around welcoming and understanding individuals. It's when you can be yourself and share your thoughts without worrying about being judged. It's the time when you're free to ask questions and get answers. It's necessary for improved communication, creativity, and productivity.

 

Do your coworkers feel comfortable approaching you with questions when they don't understand something? Do they feel comfortable voicing their perspectives without fear of being judged or criticized? Do they feel safe criticizing the existing norm or disagreeing with it without fear of retaliation? Or are they frightened to speak up because they're afraid they'll say something dumb or wrong?


Psychologists have discovered that people are more productive and creative when they feel psychologically safe. They also have a more positive attitude toward their jobs and are more determined to succeed.

 

When we are treated with respect and listened to, and our ideas are respected at work, we can feel psychologically safe. It isn't enough to simply be in a positive environment. We need to feel safe being ourselves and expressing ourselves without fear of retribution.

 

There are various advantages to feeling psychologically safe at work. It promotes improved collaboration, creativity, and productivity. It also improves job satisfaction, motivation, and engagement. People are more willing to speak up, ask questions, and express their thoughts when they feel psychologically safe, according to studies.

 

Psychologically safe people are more likely to ask for what they want, speak up, and share ideas. They have a greater sense of self-assurance and control over their work.

 

Employees who feel psychologically safe at work are more productive, participate more in their tasks, and have higher job satisfaction, according to a Gallup Organization study. They are also more inclined to ask questions and speak up.

 

[Related: Psychological Safety at Work: A Guide to Creating Psychological at Work]

 

Psychological safety, according to Gino, Goldsmith, and Rock's study, is a feeling of comfort and trust that comes from being with people who are accepting and understanding. It's when you can be yourself and share your thoughts without worrying about being judged. It's the time when you're free to ask questions and get answers. It's necessary for improved communication, creativity, and productivity. ( Gino, G., Goldsmith, K., and Rock, D. authored the study (2016). Leadership performance and psychological safety 137-162 in Journal of Management, vol. 42, no. 1.)  People who felt psychologically unsafe, in contrast to those who felt psychologically safe, were less productive.   The study also discovered that psychological safety is not a feeling of security and trust that comes from being around accepting and understanding individuals. It's when you can be yourself and share your thoughts without worrying about being judged. It's when you're free to question and seek information.

 

When leaders develop a culture of psychological safety, they acquire a lot of insight into their employees' performance. People are more willing to speak up, ask questions, and express their thoughts when they feel psychologically safe, according to a study. They have a greater sense of self-assurance and control over their work. Gino, G., Goldsmith, K., and Rock, D. authored the study (2016).

 

[Related: Psychological Safety the New Anchor of Effective Team building]

 

Leaders recognize the importance of psychological safety in the workplace. They understand that the best ideas will come from everyone in their immediate vicinity. They are aware that people have ideas and opinions that are distinct from those of others. They also understand that they have no control over other people's views and ideas.  Leaders who don't grasp the need of psychological safety, on the other hand, put others down and avoid giving feedback. They also avoid providing feedback even when they believe it is necessary. They are apprehensive about speaking up and urging others to do so. They're more prone to accept the status quo rather than fight it. It is the job of leaders to foster a psychologically safe environment. It's not enough to state that we should feel psychologically safe in our ability to be ourselves and communicate our thoughts. To take risks, we need to feel protected. To be vulnerable, we need to feel safe.

 

[Related: Psychological safety in the workplace]

 

The most crucial thing to remember is that psychological safety entails more than just a sense of security. It's about feeling secure enough to take chances. It's about being able to be vulnerable in a safe environment. It's about having the courage to be vulnerable in front of your peers and coworkers. We can't be creative until we're in a psychologically secure environment. We must be able to freely share our thoughts, solicit input from others, and challenge the status quo.

 

Professors Francesca Gino, Kathyrn Goldsmith, and David Rock of Harvard Business School published a paper titled "Psychological Safety and Leadership Performance" based on a survey of 4,000 employees at a Fortune 500 company. People who feel psychologically safe are more likely to speak up and confront their leaders, according to the researchers. They're also more inclined to listen to and act on feedback from their bosses.

 

People are more likely to be themselves when they feel safe being themselves. They are more willing to ask questions and offer their thoughts. They are more prone to be open and vulnerable with their coworkers and leaders. This is what it means to be psychologically safe.

 

Memory Nguwi is the Managing Consultant of Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting organization. He is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, and Managing Consultant.

Visit our websites at https://www.thehumancapitalhub.com/ and www.ipcconsultants.com or send an email to [email protected] firm. Email:[email protected] or visit our websites https://www.thehumancapitalhub.com/ and  www.ipcconsultants.com


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