Is psychological safety front and center in your workplace?
It’s gained significant attention in recent years as a key factor for team success, and more and more teams are embracing and focusing on how psychological safety can help improve employee satisfaction.
But what is it, exactly? Simply put, psychological safety means an environment where team members can confidently inquire, make mistakes, contribute, and challenge ideas without the fear of negative consequences. It builds a culture of trust and open communication, and creates a place where team members feel safe to express their thoughts, creating a cohesive, innovative, and successful team.
The Significance of Psychological Safety on Teams
Here’s how teams benefit when psychological safety is fostered:
Promotes Open Communication: When team members feel safe expressing their thoughts, ideas, concerns, and even their mistakes, it promotes an environment where information flows freely. This open dialogue is essential for addressing issues, solving problems, and making informed decisions.
Encourages Innovation: Creativity and innovation thrive in an environment where individuals are unafraid to experiment and think outside the box. Teams that promote psychological safety are more likely to generate groundbreaking ideas and adapt to changing circumstances.
Builds Trust: When team members know that their contributions are valued, and they won't be ridiculed or penalized for speaking up, trust flourishes. This trust, in turn, leads to stronger team cohesion and collaboration.
Supports Learning and Growth: Psychological safety doesn't just allow for mistakes; it encourages them. Mistakes are opportunities for growth and learning. Teams that embrace these moments of error are more likely to learn from them and improve over time.
Project Aristotle: The Google Study
All that sounds well and good, but how does it impact real work environments?
That’s exactly what Google set out to discover!
In fact, a landmark study conducted by Google found that psychological safety is THE number one factor for thriving teams.
In 2012, Google initiated Project Aristotle, an internal study aimed at understanding what makes some teams excel while others struggle. After years of extensive research, they found that psychological safety emerged as the single most crucial factor in team success.
Google's researchers discovered that teams where members felt safe to take interpersonal risks and speak up performed significantly better than those where individuals felt constrained or apprehensive. This revelation had a profound impact on how Google and many other organizations approached team building, and it underlined the idea that success isn't solely determined by individual skills and qualifications.
Pretty amazing, isn’t it?!
So, by recognizing its significance and actively working to cultivate it, teams can transform into empowered, thriving, and resilient entities that are prepared to tackle the challenges of the modern workplace.
Want help fostering psychological safety for your team? Learn more about our Psychological Safety PLAYshop here.