Managers have historically concentrated on encouraging candor and dissent concerning job topics when it comes to psychological safety at the workplace. The challenge is that, as the line between work and life blurs, managers must make decisions about staffing, scheduling, and coordination that take into account employees’ circumstances — a categorically distinct domain.
Psychological safety in the workplace is the shared conviction that taking interpersonal risks as a group is safe. These dangers include, among other things, speaking up when there is an issue with team dynamics and expressing new ideas.
Employee turnover is less common on teams led by managers that establish psychologically safe work environments, according to the 2019 People Management Report. If you want to keep high performers, make sure the entire organization is psychologically safe. It must begin at the top, with executive buy-in, as with any large effort.
WAYS TO HELP CREATE A PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY NET AT WORK
When anything goes wrong, it’s easy to look for someone to blame. Focus on strategies to develop and maintain psychological safety in the workplace.
Ask instead, “How can we make sure this goes better next time?” instead of “What happened and why?” Take note of the emphasis on collaborative language: How can we ensure that this happens easily the next time? Instead of blaming an individual for a mistake, we statement to convert the accountability into a group effort.
INCLUDE YOUR TEAM IN DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES
Consult your team before making a decision. Inquire about their opinions, ideas, and feedback. This will not only make people feel more involved in the decision-making process, but it will also increase their psychological safety and contribute to better results.
Explain your explanation for your decision once you’ve made it. What role did their input have in the decision? What other factors were taken into account? Even if your employees disagree, they will value the openness and transparency with which the decision was reached.
It is your obligation as a leader to make the final choice on a lot of issues. Your staff needs to know that you are confident in this role, but also that you are adaptable and responsive to their input.
Employees who feel psychologically comfortable are more likely to provide feedback—up, down, and across the board. And this gives them the confidence to knock on the CEO’s door when they have important information to offer. Invite your team to disagree with you and push back.
While this may be unsettling at first, healthy confrontation leads to better decisions and increased accountability, making it a win-win situation for everyone.
SHOW YOUR TEAM YOU’RE ENGAGED
Show that you’re interested in what the team is saying, Be there throughout meetings. Making eye contact and closing your laptop are examples of this. It’s easy to get distracted during a meeting by emails, texts, or Slack. But these minor acts of disengagement have a severe influence on your team’s psychological safety.
Listening to what others have to say is also part of the engagement. Try practicing active listening. To ensure that you comprehend the other person’s ideas or opinions, ask questions. Active interaction is very important. It creates an environment in which people believe that it is encouraged to speak up.
We’ve previously treated “work” and “non-work” discussions as distinct, allowing supervisors to keep the latter off the table. However, over the last year, many managers have discovered that previously taboo subjects like child care, health-risk comfort levels, and challenges faced by spouses or other family members are becoming more important in joint (manager and employee) decisions about how to structure and schedule hybrid work.