Psychological Safety in the Workplace

The idea of psychological safety in a company, big or small, is such a vital component for the business and its employees to thrive. It is the number 1 criteria for any high performing team. But are we giving much thought and action to it?

Michelle Bihary, a People Leadership, Self-Leadership and Workplace Resilience Expert, shares with us how psychological safety fits into all of this.

The workplace is like a psychological sea that we work within. All our interactions are based on the psychology of things. And really, we haven’t had a language around it. This is such a vital element that we need to talk about because it can impact the workplace in an extensive way but it is often ignored and not talked about.

The vibe of the workplace and every interaction can either support people’s productivity and performance or undermine it. Bullying and harassment are examples of interactions that bring negative effects in the workplace. And on the other end of the spectrum, high levels of valuing, appreciating, and being present to staff bring optimal performance and productivity.

The whole level of trust which is a lot of what psychological safety is around is vital to any workplace and workforce. Psychological safety is very much about the level of safety that we feel to be real in a work environment where we don’t have all the answers , where we might have questions, where we might want to contribute an idea and not get eye rolls and looked down upon by others but where it’s actually psychologically safe to share all sorts of thoughts, questions and ideas within reason. 

For a high performing team, psychological safety is the number 1 key criteria. And yet what’s interesting is that we’re not even considering how we can employ people who can participate in psychological safety. 

The 3 skills we need to look for in potential employees are: emotional intelligence, openness to learning, and teamwork. You can have the best clinician but if they’re not open to learning, not a team player and have no emotional intelligence, that can be absolutely damaging for the performance of others and the vibe of the workplace. When you’re trying to build a business, bringing the team together results in getting the benefit of everyone’s innovative thinking and ideas.

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