How to Create Psychological Safety on Your Team

In most work environments, employees perform their tasks in a team structure.

Everyone on the team has a specific area of expertise. The hope is that everyone works together, like a well-oiled machine. But if you’ve worked in a team setting, whether that be in school, sports, or the modern workplace, you know this is easier said than done. More often than not, someone is slacking off, and another team member has to pick up their slack. This can be very frustrating. But it can be fixed!

Below are some tips on how to create psychological safety on your team. Doing this will promote both employee engagement and productivity.

What Is Psychological Safety?

The basic definition of psychological safety is feeling secure and comfortable in your environment.

Providing a psychologically safe environment is vital for your team. People need to feel free to brainstorm ideas, talk freely, and communicate directly. They need to feel comfortable with other team members and trust one another.

If these feelings are not present, your team will not be able to achieve their potential. Talk to your team openly about this and make them feel confident they can address concerns and questions openly with the team. Make sure there aren’t any workplace bullies on the team. This can have a huge negative impact on fellow team members and potentially cultivate negative attitudes amongst the team. If you notice workplace bullying happening within your team, stop it immediately and fix the behavior.

How to Foster A Psychologically Safe Team

Having a psychologically safe environment is incredibly important. But how exactly can you provide this setting? Here are some tips.

  • Include everyone. Whether it be inviting people to lunch or after-work activities, make sure everyone on the team feels like they are wanted and valued.
  • Failure is not a bad thing. This may seem like an oxymoron, but it's important that your team members aren't afraid to fail. Failure leads to success. Make your team members feel confident enough to try new things. If it doesn’t work out, don’t punish, but rather, encourage them to keep on trying.
  • Encourage creativity. Help your team understand that there is more than one way to do something. Make sure that everyone on the team is comfortable coming up with new ideas and running with them. However, make it known that all team members will be accountable for their projects. There is a fine line between being accountable and creativity. Walk that line and encourage team members to be creative, while still being accountable for all actions and ideas.  
  • Practice what you preach. It’s one thing to say you’ll do all these things. It’s another to actually do them. If your team members can’t count on you to maintain the standards set, how will they ever be successful? If you say you are going to be available to them for questions, but shut people down when they come to you for help, it will destroy the psychologically safe environment you’ve worked so hard to create.

What To Do If Psychological Safety Is Being Threatened

No matter how hard you try to create a psychologically safe workplace, there will be problems to address. It’s how you deal with these problems that will set you apart from other companies and teams. Adequate supervisor developmen can be a great tool to facilitate this process.  

The best advice when dealing with threatening situations is to face them head on. If you have a team member that is belittling other employees, confront them in a non-hostile environment and let them know that what they are doing will not be tolerated. You’ve worked hard to establish a psychologically safe place for your team; don’t let the bad behavior of a few ruin that.

Creating a safe environment for your employees is easier said than done. But it’s an investment that is worth your time. Creating such a place for team members will drastically increase your effectiveness and overall happiness at work. All aspects of the job will be better, and your employees will have a greater love and dedication for their work.  

Learn more about creating psychological safety on your team at Bamboo HR

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