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12 November 2021

How managers can increase the psychological safety of teams

Psychological safety is essential for ensuring team high performance. We take a look at simple steps managers and leaders can take to foster greater psychological safety in their teams.

Psychological safety – the shared feeling that it is safe to show one’s true self and to take risks in a group – was identified by Google as the most important factor in determining the performance of a team.  It is also closely interwoven with resilience and wellbeing, and is the foundation for trusting, supportive relationships with colleagues.

Whilst widely talked about, psychological safety does not yet seem to be common in practice. According to recent research, over 50% of employees in global organisations have felt psychologically unsafe at work. So, how do managers take the lead in building greater psychological safety for their teams?

Here are some key strategies that managers can start to put into practice:

  • Show you trust your team by giving more autonomy in their roles.
  • Own your mistakes, and encourage team members to do the same.
  • Turn mistakes into learning experiences that the whole group can benefit from.
  • Promote honest, open feedback in all directions.
  • Support team members to take risks and try new approaches. Knowing that they have your support will enable individuals to embrace their creativity and bring innovation to their work.
  • Be open to opinions, responding to ideas and suggestions in a way that shows employees that they are valued and respected.

Creating cultural change takes time, but when managers apply these strategies consistently, they can increase trust and psychological safety for their teams.

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