Physical safety is a big deal in the workplace, and psychological safety should be treated with the same importance. Creating psychological safety is the process of helping individuals feel secure expressing ideas, problems, solutions, and concerns. It’s important that your employees feel they can express themselves and share questions or concerns without fear of being pushed aside or reprimanded. This will create a happier workforce and a more innovative business. Here are some ways to foster psychological safety as a leader:
Be Open from the Beginning
If you want employees to feel comfortable in your organization, you need to make your standards clear from the beginning. When you’re onboarding new employees, emphasize that you would like to hear their feedback and ideas. You may even want to consider creating a process for employees to submit feedback anonymously to encourage sharing. Your focus on creating a psychologically safe environment for employees from the beginning will build trust in your company.
Continuing to be clear about expectations as employees grow in your company will further increase feelings of psychological safety. You should make efforts to be transparent about any changes or progress in the company. Being secretive about company matters that affect your employees can cause fear and mistrust. However, there are times when you need to be gentle in your transparency. It’s one thing to give vital information to employees, it’s another to give that information with empathy. When giving negative feedback or bad news, make sure you approach the scenario with kindness in mind, so your employees feel reassured in your company’s capability.
Offer Effective Feedback
Everyone needs feedback to grow. As a leader, you are responsible for giving that feedback to your employees in a way that makes a positive impact. Any feedback you give should be constructive and provide employees with a clear path to improve. Be sure to balance positive reinforcement with constructive feedback by reinforcing and rewarding the work and behaviors that you want employees to continue. This clear feedback will help employees feel secure in their position and in their potential for growth, creating better psychological safety.
Being a good leader requires a lot of practice and skill. Follow this advice to improve your ability to create psychological safety in the workplace.