Building psychological safety / Construir seguridad psicológica

Build psychological safety

Last week, I wrote about what psychological safety is and why having it is important in the workplace. This time, I want to devote these lines to tell you how you can build psychological safety within your team, so you can make the most of it.

Avoiding toxicity

Despite the benefits of having a healthy working environment for the employees, we could also consider the benefits for the company. Today, a person is 10 times more likely to quit their job because of a toxic culture, and 75% say that their boss is the most stressful part of their jobs.

Toxicity mainly appears when managers don’t promote a culture where people feel they can speak up or show up as they are because they fear the consequences. Therefore, to avoid toxicity in the first place, you need to build psychological safety.

Allow mistakes

You must allow your people making mistakes. But not only on the theory. You must truly allow them to fail. Even if there is a big mistake and it could cost a lot of money.

Some managers could argue that making mistakes is a reflection of poor performance. On the contrary, making mistakes, and learning from them, is the best way to improve performance. If your team feels safe enough to try new ideas and solutions, the work would benefit from it. Besides, they would feel responsible for their actions and more autonomous, which are two main factors in people’s motivation.

A mistake is an opportunity to improve working processes, team relationships, people accountability and, therefore, results.

Hear all the voices

Typically, a team is made up of people with diverse backgrounds and conditions, being you aware or not. And generally, we humans tend to pay more attention to those who agree with us, or simply see the world as we see it, diminishing the rest.

An important part to build psychological safety is creating the conditions for everyone to show up as they are, especially when they don’t agree with us and besides their character. Showing up for introverts could be a real challenge, for example, but if you really want to make the most of your team’s talent, you need to hear all the voices.

First step to take is promoting the sense of belonging within the team. You should build a place where everyone in the team is welcome and feels they belong to. This helps people feel respected and appreciated and creates the conditions for them to show up. Moreover, sense of belonging is also a source of motivation.

Once here, your reaction to different ideas the first time they speak up will lead the way. If they dare to show up, and you discard the idea just because you don’t see things like that without considering it seriously, you will lose all the trust you’ve already built.

Building psychological safety is a process closely related with trust. How you behave is far more important than what you say, since it’s the manager’s behaviors and not the words what builds the culture.

Image by Randy Fath at Unsplash