Be Mindful of the Power of Psychological Safety

Big dots connected for our My Healthy Workplace team when we discovered Harvard Business School Professor, Amy Edmonson's research on “Psychological Safety in the Workplace”. For learning and risk taking to take place, employees need to feel safe, supported and valued – not just by supervisors but also by each other.

Edmonson defines “Psychological Safety” as holding a belief “that one will not be punished nor humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes” and identifies it as critical to great teamwork.

In her 2018 book, THE FEARLESS ORGANIZATION: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth, Edmonson introduced us to Google’s “Project Aristotle”, a multi-year research project examining over 180 Google teams and 250 team traits. Google had set out to identify the top factors that make teams “great”. After extensive research, the findings remained inconclusive until researchers “tripped over” the theme of Psychological Safety. Apparently success didn’t hinge on the unique qualities of individual team members but rather on factors like overall dependability, structure and clarity, meaning and impact. These factors were only effective when enabled by a foundation of “Psychological Safety” – the key dynamic factor that makes great teams successful.

Foundational to My Healthy Workplace are the 13 Psychosocial Factors addressing wellness in the Workplace. In each MHW Newsletter, we will provide links to short video segments on one of the 13 Factors, beginning today with “Psychological Protection: Employees’ psychological safety is ensured”. We encourage you to share this information with your respective teams and to connect with My Healthy Workplace if you would like to play an active role in building Psychological Safety into your day-to-day workplace activities. Each of us can make a difference.

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