7 Ways to Promote Psychological Safety at WorkPlace

7 Ways to Promote Psychological Safety at WorkPlace

Often, employees resist pointing out some of their leaders’ decision-making or refuse to speak up even when they think the project could do with some improvements due to fear of getting fired or humiliated. Lack of psychological safety prevents people from putting out great ideas and preventing great catastrophes resulting in the company remaining stuck with no innovation happening.

According to statistics, about 23% of office workers are diagnosed with depression. They work long hours in a hostile environment and under a callous boss, which leads to unhappy workers. A psychologically safe workplace promotes positivism, productivity, and creativity. A psychologically safe environment provides:

  • A sense of belonging for the employees.
  • A comfortable work environment.
  • Happy colleagues.
  • Engaging work atmosphere.

What is Psychological Safety?

A Harvard University professor, Amy Edmondson, coined the term Psychological safety; “A belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, concerns or mistakes.”

A psychologically safe environment is when an employee feels confident enough to speak up their mind without fearing rejection and humiliation. An emotionally safe environment promotes productivity and innovation, while the lack of it results in a hostile work environment with unhappy employees, and an unsuccessful company as an outcome.

Google’s Aristotle Survey concluded that employees are less likely to leave their job if they feel psychologically safe, feeling confident in being themselves at work. The numerous benefits of a psychologically safe environment are:

  • A productive team.
  • Positive work attitude.
  • Generation of great ideas because people are not scared to speak up their mind.
  • Healthy and positive work environment.
  • Confident and comfortable employees.
  • A successful company.

Why Psychological Safety Is Important In Software Industries

When we talk about the recipe of a successful company, creativity is a critical element. A company can’t flourish if its workers aren’t sprouting and working on new ideas around the clock. Therefore, innovation is vital for the victory of any organization, be it selling products or services or both. But, it is the IT industry that cannot function without it.

Software industries are a paradigm of the creatively driven. Content writing, software developing, web designing are the pillars of the IT industries that require an imaginative drive to succeed, which cannot thrive in an environment that requires people to keep their individuality and creativity at home. Therefore, psychological safety is of utmost importance in an industry where creativity and innovation rule above all.

A tech company flourishes due to inspiration and originality. Without great ideas, software industries won’t produce new inventions, hence, nipping the growth in the bud. Appreciation of imagination is crucial in an IT industry, where something new is invented almost every day.

How To Create A Psychologically Safe Environment?

If you’re opening your start-up or are looking to become a better leader, you must value and respect your teams’ mental health.

As the leader of your company, whether it be a small start-up or multi-million dollar industry, it is your job to make your team feel comfortable and psychologically safe in your office. This will consequently lead to a motivated team, resilient team members and stimulating ideas to work on.

7 Ways To Promote Psychological Safety At Work

Here are some of the ways you can use to make your team feel psychologically safe at work.

1. Lead By Example

An effective way to promote psychological safety at work is to lead by example. As the company leader, try to create a friendly and approachable demeanor and build a relationship of trust between you and your team members.

Encourage your team by engaging with them during meetings and attentively listening to their ideas and concerns. This practice makes your team members feel safe and heard. The leader should try to relate with their employees by sharing past work experiences and humble themselves, showing vulnerability by owning up to their mistakes.

2. Promote Risk-Taking

What scares us the most is making mistakes and being embarrassed about them in front of our colleagues. A practical method to implement psychological safety is to accept the fact that making mistakes is unavoidable. As human beings, it is our default mechanism to make mistakes and learn from them.

Instead of embarrassing your team members for mistakes or failure, try to encourage them to learn and share their learning. Inspire the spirit of teamwork rather than blame and humiliate one team member to try to teach the other members a lesson.

People feel more comfortable speaking up in an environment where they are not embarrassed to make mistakes and ask questions.

3. Be inclusion-focused

As humans, we automatically feel at ease in an environment where we have an affinity with all the other people around us. Try to forge a connection with your employees by engaging in friendly conversations outside of the staff meetings and show interest in what your team members has to say regarding their work, hobbies, or personal life.

IT industry is a male-dominated world as revealed by the statistics, only 25% of women employed are in a software company for a technical job. As an employer, try to bring diversity to your office. Make an effort to mend the gender disparity in IT industries by hiring talented men and women.

Value people’s skill set and offer them a job based on merit. This practice will help boost your employees’ confidence.

4. Motivate Employees To Ask Questions

As we all are not an encyclopedia, it is only natural that there will be times when we will come across various topics we won’t have any clue about. Stop assuming that your employees will have all the information regarding whatever project you’re assigning them. Normalize the practice of asking very dumb but crucial questions.

Lack of embarrassment when asking questions leads to excellent critical thinking skills. Assure your team members to come to you if they have any queries rather than ponder over their questions alone for fear of being embarrassed.

5. Practice Active Listening

An effective way of making your office a psychologically safe environment is to show your team members that you care.

Actively participate in conversations with your colleagues. Try to arrange one-to-one check-ins with your employees to discuss whatever project they are currently working on to show your interest.

Try keeping your facial expressions in control to avoid coming across as bored and annoyed to your team members during conversations. Another reliable tactic is to avoid embarrassing your employees by shutting down their ideas immediately, instead thank them for their input and explain why you won’t be taking their suggestions.

6. Promotion Of Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is an essential aspect of people’s lives nowadays. Try to boost the concept of being comfortable in your skin. People will feel more comfortable once they realize that their idea and work will be valued even if they don’t adopt the bland office persona and can be who they are.

Be a supportive leader and get to know your employees as the kind of person instead of the sort of worker.

7. Reward Initiative

Please don’t be stingy when it comes to compliments. Recognize and appreciate your teams’ hard work and reward them with awards and commendations to show them how much you value them.

Teams become more creative and ambitious in an environment where they feel their creativity and innovation are recognized and valued. Your colleagues will become more motivated and invested in them once they realize that their work is essential to you. A psychologically safe and healthy environment leads to the projection of fantastic ideas.

 

Conclusion

A psychologically safe environment is essential for the innovation of our teams to shine. The seed of imagination can only grow in a place where it gets all the substantial material. Tired, overworked, and depressed team members will provide mediocre work at best.

Minahil Aijaz

I am a medical student and an avid fiction reader, with a penchant for travelling. I am currently working as a junior content writer at Genetech Solutions, one of Pakistan’s leading Software houses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *