Psychological Safety

A high level of psychological is the core strength of the most successful and productive teams. It represents an essential prerequisite for an agile way of working.

Psychological safety can be defined as feeling safe within your working team and being able to express, doubt, or question team or leadership activities without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status, or career. It is the core strength of the most successful and productive teams, like Google’s Project Aristotle found out by studying more than 180 different teams. It is a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. Psychologically safe environments are not primarily about feeling good but about high performance. It is even more critical in case of high uncertainty and interdependence between team members.

Although most companies are already aware that a high level of psychological safety is essential, psychologically safe work environments are still rare.

Psychological Safety Index Scan

More than twenty years ago, Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson coined the term psychological safety. It is defined as a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. It means that team members feel confident that candor and vulnerability are welcome.

But how can you measure it?

Amy Edmondson has developed seven questions to measure the psychological safety of a team, and these questions form the basis of an assessment that covers four domains of a team dynamics:

  • Attitude to risk and failure
  • Willingness to help
  • Inclusion and diversity
  • Open conversation

Psychological Safety Index (PSI) Scan is an official Fearless Organization assessment and has four steps:

  1. Meeting with team leader – set the context for the work and high-level goal
  2. Team Session #1 – set the stage, clarify the process, explain the psychological safety concept, and co-create shared goals
  3. Run the PSI survey – all team members, including the team leader, fill out the PSI survey.
  4. Team Session #2 – debrief with the team in a facilitated discussion to create awareness of where the team is and agree on the next steps

The last step is an essential part of the intervention, and this session usually takes about four hours.

Results that you can expect after the  workshop

  • First of all, you will understand what is psychological safety, why is it important and what are the good and bad practices
  • Second, you will measure the level of PS in your team and explore strategies that would increase its level in your team
  • Furthermore, you will experience activities that lead towards higher psychological safety in the team (retrospective, feedback …)

A high level of psychological safety represents a basic prerequisite for an agile way of working. Common understanding and awareness of the importance are the first and easy steps your team can do. Our trainers are very experienced in creating a safe environment for slightly more sensitive topics.

Our trainer, Voranc Kutnik is the only Fearless Organization Certified Practitioner in Slovenia. He will gladly answer any of your questions so feel free to reach out to him: voranc.kutnik@corpohub.com.

References

Steklarna Hrastnik, SKB – OTP bank, SAS, Krka

Questions? Contact our team

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