The importance of creating a culture where people feel a sense of belonging has always been a cornerstone of the work that we do. Over the past couple of years, it’s become a hot topic and we couldn’t be happier.
To help leaders and organizations understand practical ways of creating psychological safety, we’ve been sharing some ideas from the research and researchers that we follow.
Today, we thought we’d go back to the source, Amy Edmonson, of Harvard University. She’s the woman who first coined the term psychological safety in 1999, in the Administrative Science Quarterly. She described it as:
“a belief that one will not be
punished or humiliated for speaking up
with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes,
and that the team is safe
for interpersonal risk-taking.”
It means that people feel they can share their successes, their failures, and their requests for support. All without judgment or repercussion.
It’s a space where people trust each other and can engage in the free-flowing exchange of ideas and thoughts – all with the assumption that various perspectives create greater success. Differences are celebrated.
As you’re having conversations with your team, take a look at these suggested phrases from Amy Edmonson:
- I need some help figuring this out.
- I don’t feel right about this. Can we pause and take a closer look?
- Let’s hear some dissent/who’s got something to add/let’s have some give-and-take.
- What are you up against? What help do you need? What’s in your way?
- I really appreciate you bringing this to me. I’m sure it wasn’t easy.
- There are many unknowns/things are changing fast/this is complex stuff…so we will make mistakes.
As you look through the various suggestions and scripting we’ve shared over the past couple of weeks, see if you can create language that will work for you and your team.
✴️ Consider sharing these with your team and inviting their ideas so that you create a shared approach together.
We believe that this work can change your ability to succeed and to thrive. Let us know if we can help.