10 tips for increasing Psychological Safety

I discussed the various definitions of psychological safety in my previous blog and touched on the importance of it, particularly in a hybrid working environment against a backdrop of pandemic and war in Ukraine which has an impact on general levels of anxiety in society. This blog focuses on practical things that we can do about this as leaders – to promote a culture of belonging and contribution within our teams.

1. Acknowledge uncertainty

Don’t sweep change or uncertainty under the carpet, it is better to be open, to invite questions and comments and remind people of what remains the same. Often, we can become pre-occupied with the 1% of a situation that is different or anxiety provoking rather than the 99% which is business as usual.

2. Seek out contribution

How to build psychological safety

Make a point of asking what people think, ask for questions, concerns and ensure that your body language demonstrates that you really do want to hear them. Try asking ‘What questions do you have?’ or ‘What do you think?’ which presupposes that people have questions or thoughts as opposed to ‘Does that make sense?’ which is much more likely to get a mute nod or yes with people taking their questions or concerns away for another day. Make sure you listen actively to these contributions, whether or not you agree with them.

3. Encourage challenge

Make it safe for people to voice counter opinions. Actively seek out opposing views by perhaps inviting someone to play ‘Devil’s Advocate’ or to explore the possible downside of a scenario. Activities like De Bono’s thinking hats can be useful for encouraging different ways of thinking and making this desirable. Explain that healthy conflict is a key part of developing a high performing team.

4. Appreciate feedback

When people to provide a counter opinion or feedback, thank them for it sincerely, ask follow up questions to fully understand their viewpoint and encourage others to do the same.

5. Demonstrate humility

Admitting that we don’t have all the answers or make mistakes shows others that it is safe to do the same.

6. Encourage learning from mistakes

Provide space to share mistakes and what we learned from them, just as much as successes. Additionally, create positivity around mistakes as opportunities for growth and welcome the learning to be had from them

7. Promote sharing and collaboration

Encourage people to volunteer support, share resources, skills and knowledge within the team and elsewhere in the organisation. Also, recognise and encourage collaboration, being helpful and contributing to others.

8. Encourage personal and professional collaboration

Create space for people to get to know each other as people again to allow interpersonal relationships, trust and rapport to develop.

9. Start each team meeting with a temperature check

Make it normal for people to talk about how they are feeling, sometimes metaphors or scales can make it easier for people to express themselves such as how they are feeling on a scale of 1-10.

10. Develop self-awareness in leaders and managers

Lastly, encourage formal and informal feedback. Consider utilising a professional tool such as 360 degree feedback to dramatically raise self awareness. At Actus we have defined specific questions around psychological safety as one of our Actus 360 NOW survey template options. Do get in touch via the button below if you would like to find out more about this.

Find out more

Quick 1 minute summary of Actus Software

    Not quite ready for a Demo?

    Please complete the details to receive a 3 minute system tour direct to your inbox!

      Request a quote today

      If you are looking for performance management software for 1000+ employees get in touch for a quote today.

        The 360 Tool for Independent Consultants

        Talk to one of our partnership specialists today.

          Not quite ready for a demo?

          Fill in your details below and then please check your email for a link to the 3 minute overview of Actus Software

            Get in touch with us today!

            If you have any questions, enquiries or just want to say how much you like us (or what we can do better), please drop us a line.