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In our previous post, we talked about psychological safety; how to create a supportive work environment, and the importance of it in the workplace. In the second installment of this series, we examine the four stages, how to maintain psychological safety, as well as various tools and methods.
The four stages are as follows:
  1. In the first stage, “Inclusion,” an inclusive culture is promoted in order to make sure that every team member feels appreciated and respected.
  2. The second stage, referred to as the “Learner Mindset,” promotes a growth mentality by fostering an atmosphere where mistakes are seen as opportunities for learning rather than failures. 
  3. The third stage, “Voice,” places a strong emphasis on open communication, allowing staff members to freely share their thoughts, worries, and feedback without worrying about repercussions.
  4. In the fourth stage, honesty, accountability, and transparency are used to create “Trust” among team members and leaders. These phases work

    together to build psychological safety within the company, fostering a positive work atmosphere that improves teamwork and encourages innovation.

Inclusion Safety: The First Stage

The first step in promoting psychological safety in the workplace is to establish a culture that values inclusion and respects the backgrounds and identities of every team member. Open conversation, respect for other viewpoints, and a sense of community are all facilitated by inclusion safety among team members. Leaders may build a welcoming and psychologically secure workplace by fostering diversity and equity, encouraging active listening, and addressing biases or discrimination within the team. Forging a culture of cooperation, innovation, and productivity in the workplace requires inclusion safety. It lays the groundwork for high-performing teams where each member feels secure enough to take chances with others, share ideas, and give their all.

Concept: four stages of psychological safety. Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
Image to represent: Second stage of psychological safety : A women biting of a pencil while working on a laptop Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

Learner Safety: The Second Stage

Learner safety is the next stage. At this stage, the emphasis is on creating an environment where people feel at ease taking chances and messing up in order to learn and develop. By fostering curiosity, offering feedback and support for learning opportunities, and fostering a culture that values continuous improvement, leaders play a critical role in supporting learner safety. Organisations may improve creativity, innovation, and overall employee engagement by actively encouraging learner safety and team learning. The next phases of psychological safety are set up by this stage, which builds on the basis of inclusion safety.

Contributor Safety: The Third Stage

Contributor safety, focuses on creating a space where staff members feel at ease. At this point, team members and leaders actively solicit feedback from others and value various points of view. Building trust and encouraging open communication, where issues of mental health and discussed without the fear of repercussion. These are essential components of contributor safety because they promote cooperation and creativity within teams. During this phase, leaders should offer praise and comments to reinforce a positive work atmosphere.

Concept : Tpsychological safety Image by Md Abdul Rashid from Pixabay
Concept: encouraging questioning. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Challenger Safety: The Fourth Stage

The fourth stage of psychological safety, challenger safety, refers to a setting where team members feel free to question the status quo and provide novel solutions without worrying about repercussions. In this stage, people feel ownership over their work and are encouraged to innovate and take risks. Leaders must foster an open, welcoming culture that honours various viewpoints and fosters constructive dissent in order to foster challenger safety. Organisations can unleash the potential of their employees and boost engagement, team effectiveness, and overall performance by creating a psychologically secure environment. Collaboration, creativity, and continual development can only flourish in a workplace that is psychologically safe.

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How to Instill Psychological Safety in the Workplace?

To instill psychological safety in the workplace, encourage open and honest communication, model vulnerability and empathy, create a non-judgmental environment where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities, and provide regular feedback and recognition. Through the practice of mindfulness and meditation, the quality of non-judgment can be fostered. 

Enhancing Communication Skills:

Enhancing communication skills is crucial for promoting psychological safety in the workplace. Active listening plays a significant role in fostering a safe environment where team members feel heard and valued. The capacity to actively listen can be fostered thought present moment awareness which is a crucial component of mindfulness. It is important to encourage employees to listen attentively without interrupting or judging. Open communication channels, such as team meetings, suggestion boxes, or anonymous feedback systems, provide avenues for employees to express their thoughts and concerns freely. Teaching employees how to give and receive feedback respectfully ensures that communication remains constructive and helpful. Creating a culture of empathy and understanding further enhances psychological safety by encouraging team members to appreciate each other’s perspectives and experiences. Team-building activities and training programs on effective communication skills, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence also contribute to improving interpersonal interactions in the workplace.

Image by Peggy und Concept : Communicating Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Why Vulnerability Matters?

The importance of vulnerability in fostering psychological safety cannot be overstated. It promotes trust and connection by allowing team members to freely communicate their opinions and feelings. Sharing one’s weaknesses fosters empathy and understanding, which eventually improves psychological safety at work.

Empathy: A Vital Ingredient

In order to create a workplace that is psychologically safe, empathy is essential. It entails sharing and comprehending the emotions of another, which encourages team members to support one another and work together. Managers and leaders can show empathy by actively listening to their staff, displaying empathy and understanding, and being receptive to their needs. Creating strong bonds based on mutual respect and trust is essential to promoting psychological safety at work.

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Measuring the Impact of Psychological Safety in the Workplace

The effectiveness of teams and employee well-being are significantly influenced by a supportive work environment. Through a variety of techniques, including staff surveys and feedback, its influence can be evaluated. These instruments assist identify opportunities for growth and offer insightful information on the levels of psychological safety inside an organisation. Additionally, it directly affects the efficiency of teams by encouraging greater levels of cooperation, innovation, and risk-taking. Organisations can improve employee engagement, productivity, and overall success by establishing a psychologically safe work environment where team members feel included and supported.

Tools and Techniques

For the purpose of fostering a supportive work environment, measuring the levels of psychological safety in the workplace is essential. To quantify the degree of trust, openness, and support among team members, team dynamics and interactions are examined. Commonly utilised tools for acquiring data on teamwork, feedback, and risk-taking are surveys and questionnaires. Additionally, giving employees access to mindfulness training aids in the development of qualities like empathy, self-reflection, and lack of judgement.  Observational techniques can also offer insightful information on team dynamics and the presence of psychological safety. Organisations can pinpoint areas for improvement and guarantee a psychologically secure work environment by routinely assessing and tracking. Employing these strategies and resources, organisations can promote a psychologically secure environment and improve teamwork. Some of the following tools can also contribute towards building a robust psychologically safe work environment. 

Conflict Resolution

When people are encouraged to express their opinions, it is crucial to train managers and team leaders in conflict resolution. So that, when disagreements do emerge, it is crucial for managers and leaders to handle them quickly. Encouragement of open and honest communication while settling disputes creates an environment where team members feel at ease expressing their ideas and worries. Active listening and empathy are crucial skills for resolving conflicts and fostering a positive work environment. If workers obtain training and tools on conflict resolution, they will be better able to handle problems constructively. By giving conflict resolution first priority, organisations can create a psychologically safe workplace that promotes collaboration, employee engagement, and overall team success.

Image concept: conflict resolution. Image by Rosy from Pixabay

Accountability: A Key Factor

Employees must be allowed to admit mistakes and accept responsibility for their actions without fear of retaliation or criticism. By creating clear standards, offering helpful criticism, and taking proactive measures to resolve performance shortcomings, leaders may foster a culture of responsibility. Additionally, promoting open dialogue and attentive listening can improve psychological safety and accountability at work. Innovation and collaboration flourish when workers are free to take chances and express their ideas without fear of repercussions. To maximise team performance and overall employee engagement, it is essential to provide a secure, encouraging workplace that encourages accountability.

The Importance of Self-reflection

Self-reflection fosters self-awareness by giving people more in-depth understandings of their ideas, feelings, and behaviours. Individuals might spot potential obstacles to establishing a psychologically safe workplace by reflecting on their own biases and preconceptions. The removal of these prejudices and non-judgment results in a more welcoming and encouraging workplace environment where team members may express themselves freely without worrying about criticism or unfavourable outcomes. To read more on non-judgement click here.  Self-reflection also enables people to comprehend and empathise with their co-workers, fostering respect and trust. Regularly encouraging self-reflection through exercises like journaling or group talks fosters individual development and improves team communication. People can learn the skill of self-reflection through the practise of meditation.

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Conclusion

It’s crucial to emphasise the value of psychological safety in the workplace if you want to embed it into the fabric of your organisation. Team members feel comfortable speaking their minds when there is open communication between members and a respect for different viewpoints. By fostering a climate of trust and respect, leaders play a crucial part in establishing an example for others. This is further improved by offering resources and assistance for workers’ mental health and wellbeing. Giving employees access to mindfulness and meditation tools can aid in the development of qualities like empathy, compassion, and self-reflection.  Promoting psychological safety inside your organisation requires ongoing evaluation and improvement to ensure that it is firmly established within the organization’s beliefs and practises and becomes a part of the corporate DNA.

FAQ

There are a few strategies that can help if you find yourself spending too much time on digital devices. First, make an advance plan for using digital devices and stick to it. Set time limits for using digital screens and, when possible, turn off notifications. This will assist you in remaining focused and productive while also providing you with a much-needed break from technology.

Second, take regular breaks from digital devices and fill the time with non-screen activities. Spend time outside, socialise with friends, exercise, read a book, or engage in a hobby.

All of these activities can help with mental health and wellness. Finally, keep in mind that digital detoxing is also beneficial to physical health! Limiting your use of digital devices can help reduce eye strain, stress, and improve your overall wellbeing.

Building a healthier relationship with digital devices isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. Here are some pointers on how to go about it:

  1. Establish boundaries: It is critical to establish boundaries regarding how much time you spend using digital devices. Set a time limit for using digital devices and stop after that period of time.
  2. Take breaks: To avoid overstimulation, take regular breaks from your digital device throughout the day. This could be anything from leaving the room to taking a short walk outside every couple of hours.


3 Limit notifications/emails: Notifications and emails are two of the most distracting aspects of technology. Limit these notifications or turn off email notifications entirely if it helps you focus better on a task.

  1. Make use of digital tools: There are digital tools and apps available to encourage mindful device use and reduce addiction-like behaviours. These apps can help you monitor and limit your usage while also reminding you when it’s time to disconnect from technology.
  2. Prioritize real-life connections: Above all, make every effort to prioritise real-life connections with friends and family.
photo of author
Meghana Millin
Mindfulness teacher & Reiki Master
Mindfulness Tools illustation

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