Leadership to promote a culture of safety at all levels
Some ideas that your team could try:
- 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, marginalized, 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 toward 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.
The importance of psychological safety
This YouTube video (3 minutes 10 seconds) by Amy Edmondson explains the importance of psychological safety in the workplace.
- Resources to support psychological safety
The section below provides more information that you can use to support your improvements.
Leadership Walkrounds, ihub, Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
These improvement tools can support frontline staff to have a structured conversation, helping to build a culture of safety within their workplace.
NES Safety culture discussion cards, NHS National Education for Scotland.
These discussion cards can be used to help create a safety culture, by breaking down safety culture elements.