Why Psychological Safety Is Cost-Effective at Work

Summary: Most twenty-first-century workplaces are rife with negativity, tension, and conflict, with enormous costs ranging from decreased productivity to lawsuits. Here are some ideas on developing psychological safety and making positive cultural changes.

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

The complaining at work about too little time and too much to do is getting old.

I have team meetings with my leaders to help them address the bitching and complaining. It doesn’t seem to support any fundamental changes.

That is to say; we need a better perspective on our core culture, not just about specific times of conflict.


Thanks for your willingness to help.


Overwhelmed and exhausted

Dear O and E,

Understanding what a positive culture for employees looks, sounds, and feels like is vital.

Read the above sentence once more.

In other words, it is clear that there are employees who respond best to visual stimuli (see it to appreciate it), others who are auditory (hear what you have to say,) and, of course, those who are kinesthetic and like to touch (as in a gift card or special treat on a birthday, or for a job well done).

For this reason, the culture needs to include ways to capture the hearts and minds of all employees. Remember that we all have different ways of relating to each other.

In other words, the frustrating news is that there will always be conflict and dissatisfaction at work, home, community, and life.

Indeed, the big question is how to limit the annoyance of discontent and increase creative fun and collaboration.

The vital terms for today are “Psychological Safety” and “Employee Well-being.”

Your organizational culture directly relates to how you handle these issues in today’s post-Covid workplace.

Thus, we are practically guaranteed to bump up against one another because of our patterned reactions.

You cannot mandate happiness at work, yet you can cultivate a culture of creativity and collaboration.

As an illustration, conflict, and crises flare up most powerfully when we are overworked, tired, and under pressure to perform due to our natural flight-or-flight instinct.

Even seemingly little stress can trigger annoying patterns of behavior.

Consequently, conflict interventions that are superficial and symptom-oriented and that fail to address the more extensive workplace system —such as by only singling out a “problem person” — are ineffectual and often cause more damage.

Organizations benefit when they examine their entire culture to understand and address the source of dysfunction with an enlightened, compassionate approach.

Question: What works at work past the financial bottom line?

Here are some keys to psychological safety at work.

Building Psychological Safety at Work: Fostering a Culture of Trust and Creativity

In today’s rapidly changing and competitive work environment, organizations are realizing the importance of creating an atmosphere where employees feel safe to take risks, voice their opinions, and contribute their best work.

For example, psychological safety, a concept popularized by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, refers to a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.

Ultimately, it is the foundation for an organization’s innovation, collaboration, and personal growth. This blog post will explore the significance of psychological safety at work and discuss strategies to foster it within teams.

Building Psychological Safety at work means fostering a culture of trust and creativity.

Psychological safety is about creating an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing themselves, sharing ideas, and challenging the status quo without fear of retribution or negative consequences.

Thus, it is the belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up, taking risks, or making mistakes.

Similarly, when psychological safety is present, employees are likelier to share diverse perspectives, engage in open dialogue, and contribute to problem-solving.

Psychological Safety offers the benefits of more collaboration, innovation, and learning.

  1. Enhanced Collaboration: Employees who feel psychologically safe are more likely to collaborate and share their insights. Teams can engage in healthy debates, leading to better decision-making and improved outcomes.
  2. Increased Innovation: Psychological safety nurtures a culture of experimentation, where employees are encouraged to think outside the box, take calculated risks, and propose innovative ideas. This leads to a more creative and adaptive organization.
  3. Better Performance: Employees who feel safe speaking up and contributing their ideas tend to be more engaged and motivated. This, in turn, boosts individual and team performance, as they feel a sense of ownership and value in their work.
  4. Learning and Growth: Psychological safety encourages a learning mindset within the organization. Employees feel comfortable seeking feedback, admitting mistakes, and taking on new challenges, ultimately fostering personal and professional growth.

Here are key strategies to foster psychological safety.

  1. Lead by Example: Leaders play a crucial role in creating a psychologically safe workplace. By demonstrating vulnerability, admitting mistakes, and encouraging open dialogue, leaders can set the tone for the rest of the organization.
  2. Establish Clear Communication Channels: Organizations should establish channels that allow employees to voice their concerns, suggestions, and ideas. This could be through regular team meetings, anonymous suggestion boxes, or digital platforms for sharing thoughts and feedback.
  3. Encourage Active Listening: Listening to employees’ ideas and concerns fosters trust and demonstrates that their input is valued. Encourage managers and team members to listen attentively, show empathy, and provide constructive feedback.

Yes, failure is an option for developing a great culture.

4. Embrace and Learn from Failure: Failure should be seen as an opportunity for growth rather than a cause for punishment. When employees feel safe to make mistakes, they are more likely to take risks and innovate. Encourage a growth mindset that views failure as a learning experience.

5. Foster Inclusive Decision-Making: Involve employees in decision-making processes whenever possible. When employees feel included and have a voice in shaping outcomes, they become more invested in the organization’s success.

6. Provide Ongoing Feedback and Recognition: Regular feedback is essential for growth and improvement. Create a culture where feedback is seen as a constructive tool for development rather than criticism. Recognize and appreciate employees’ contributions to reinforce their sense of value and accomplishment.

7. Invest in Training and Development: Offer training programs that promote emotional intelligence, effective communication, conflict resolution, and inclusive leadership. These programs equip employees and leaders with the necessary skills to create and maintain psychological safety within their teams.

In conclusion, psychological safety is a buzzword and a fundamental element for creating a thriving and high-performing work environment.

Furthermore, magic happens when employees feel safe expressing their thoughts, taking risks, and learning from their mistakes.

Here’s to your success,

Sylvia Lafair

PS. Don’t hesitate to contact me at sylvia@ceoptions.com for a free starter book, “Bumper Stickers for The Brain,” to get your team moving into a more effective way of relating.

Creative Energy Options

Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options