Psychological safety is a condition in which you feel (1) included, (2) safe to learn, (3) safe to contribute, and (4) safe to challenge the status quo- all without fear of being embarrassed, marginalized or punished in some way.
Creating and maintaining a psychologically safe environment is fundamental for the flourishing of all staff, yet in most organisations psychological safety is the exception rather than the norm. Observations from a study of redesign projects in the UK on improving the capabilities of organisations in the NHS illustrate why the importance of nurturing psychological safety can not be overstated:
“Our analysis suggests that while engaging experts it is also necessary to manage ongoing collaborations between them as the service redesign process unfolds. Interprofessional health-care work is high-stakes and ‘fraught with tension and anxiety’. Individual jobs, contracts, issues of governance, compliance and patient care are simultaneously in question. The transformation manager describes: ‘challenges, disagreements, debates, … change is frightening, it can make you feel a bit insecure’. Stakeholders were well aware of the challenges, describing how vested and competing interests mean that having everyone ‘around the table had got that sort of political aspect to it’. These concerns could prevent ‘properly discussing’, interpreting and critiquing different forms of evidence, Moreover, during these redesign efforts, experts came and went. This meant that ongoing attention to managing collaborations appeared to be very critical.”
Further examples from:
Given our experience with innovation in these sectors and our involvement in neurodiversity activism, we have decided to develop a global database on psychological safety in the workplace. We will share the results and collaborate with researchers who focus on psychological safety, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
We invite you to contribute to the database by participating in our online survey, and by encouraging your friends to participate. The survey only takes between 2 to 4 minutes to complete and is accessible here.
Please note that the survey is completely anonymous, without requesting any identifiable information about specific companies or individuals, so there is no risk for organisations or individuals to find themselves exposed in “below average” territory.