Psychological safety is one of the most important interpersonal dynamics which should be fostered in the workplace. It is essential to make each member of the team feels empowered and encouraged. It also helps people share insights and ideas proactively, without any trepidation or fear about negative disparagement or judgment.
Working in a psychologically safe culture, workers feel respected and valued. The team members encourage each other to voice opinions and share ideas, even if they are far-flung or risky. The psychologically safe environment provokes meaningful discussion and helps individuals widen their perspective on opportunities and challenges.
Bringing forth the evidence of the benefits of psychological safety can inspire leaders to determine practical ways to incorporate it into the workplace. However, infusing psychological safety into workplaces is easier said done.
So, what can leaders do to permeate psychological safety in their team?
How to Cultivate Psychological Safety through Training
Training and coaching programs that specifically focus on psychological safety for employees and teams can contribute to cultivating the desired environment. Psychological safety training programs can help individuals and team members manage their emotions.
The good thing is that talent development specialists or HR professionals can easily deliver these training internally. External trainers and coaches can also guide and teach teams to cultivate psychological safety.
Either way, both internal and external trainers should keep theses training programs strictly didactic. The programs must model the behavior they champion. The best way to learn and promote psychological safety is to practice it in real scenarios, alongside the team members and employees who interact with each other regularly.
It is worth mentioning that experiential learning has the most powerful impact. Coaching sessions and leadership development programs are stimulating. Team leaders can specifically design these programs to foster and develop an environment of psychological safety.
They can allow team members to enable themselves to go through a modulated degree of exposure and vulnerability. This is an excellent technique to bind the teams together on mental and emotional levels and facilitate their strategic and creative conversations.
Fostering Dialogues to Stimulate Psychological Safety
Exercises like “active inquiry” are very effective in cultivating psychological safety in team members. Coaches and trainers in such activities give team members tasks to have one-to-one conversations. The tasks also include plenty of open-ended and thought-provoking questions. The purpose is to enable team members to dive into a whole range of different and challenging situations.
Overall, psychological safety is a necessary element in the workplace environment and relies on open dialogue, conversations, brainstorming, and expression of concerns and emotion. However, it must not become a chaotic free-for-all.
Thus, coaches, trainers, and team leaders, with the help of psychological safety training, create a structure that goes around the conversations and dialogues. They emphasize the respectful expression of feelings and thoughts on hot-button issues.