Leadership to promote a culture of safety at all levels
Some ideas that your team could try:
The sections below provide more information about why these are important. You will find practical examples, evidence, tools, templates and training resources that you could use to support your improvements.
- Why psychological safety is important
Edmonson (2002) defines psychological safety as an environment where no one is hesitant to voice a concern about a person in their care, or anything that puts the organisation at risk.
Psychological safety is key, as without the ability to openly debrief and learn, the ability to drive improvement will be compromised.
Where psychological safety exists, individuals feel included, safe to learn, safe to contribute, and safe to challenge the status quo – all without fear of being embarrassed, marginalised, or punished in some way (Clark, 2020). Environments which nurture psychological safety can increase confidence, engagement, and performance in individuals and teams. In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected.
Leaders play a key role in contributing to psychological safety through:
- the recruitment of individuals with positive attitudes with regard to collaboration
- treating others with respect, and
- working towards a common goal.
Leaders can reinforce psychological safety by describing the core values and behaviours, and demonstrating these by ensuring their approachability makes it easier for people to speak out, without fear.
- Evidence, examples and training resources to support psychological safety
The guidance to support this rationale is based on best practice. Examples of this can be seen in:
- Psychological Safety and Learning Behaviour in Work Teams, Amy Edmondson (1 June 1999).
- Managing the risk of learning: Psychological safety in work teams, Edmondson AC (2002).
- The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation, Timothy R. Clark (March 2020), Published by Berrett-Koehler, ISBN9781523087686.
- How can leaders influence a safety culture? Michael Leonard & Allan Frankel (2012).
- CEL 19 (2013) - Patient safety essentials and safety priorities.