Living in these times of disruption, uncertainty and insecurity, for many of us, makes it almost impossible to feel safe and have a sense of stability at work and at home. With the constant tension among countries, world and economic events changing every minute and a virus still imminent on impeding our previous way of life, people are desperate for a glimpse of what used to represent normalcy.
What then, can be done to foster this environment of being free from toxic work behaviours and create a safe space that can help your staff who are either still working from home, or in this post-Covid workplace environment?
Recognising signs of zero Psychological Safety in the workplace:
Employees who fear giving input or feedback
Unsafe language or passive-aggressive attacks towards employees or even among leaders
Employers' emotional blackmail towards staff e.g if you don't work overtime, I will deduct your pay
Non-inclusive environment where not all cultures and races are embraced or welcomed
Peer or Manager Bullying
Do these actions and behaviours sound familiar at your workplace? If your answer is yes to any of the above, then there is one ingredient which is fundamentally lacking in the organisation.
Trust isn't something that is built or developed overnight, in any relationship, professional or personal. It has to be embedded in the company culture. Encouraging trust will increase genuine collaboration among co-workers and establish a long-term psychologically safe environment among old and new employees.
How do organisations move ahead in these uncertain times to regroup with this strategy and start building a culture of trust and creating psychological safety at their workplace? It is always possible and never too late, if the leadership takes the lead in placing a bit of trust in their teams everyday, it will grow into a culture. Start with relinquishing control over small projects and allow more breathing space for each team member.
The Benefits of a Psychologically Safe Workplace
Psychologically safe employees will feel enabled to speak up, take calculated risks and be more involved in team interactions, resulting in higher performance, productivity, thinking out of the box, and ultimately, business success.
In order for high performance Teams or high risk projects to be successful most of the time, every member has to develop complete trust in one another and that is hard. It means having to shed their egos (yes women too have egos!) and be open and honest. And being vulnerable is never a safe feeling.
Here is a powerful quote from Amy C. Edmondson,