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the foundation of a real dialog

Psykologisk säkerhet

Psychological safety and wellbeing

Psychological safety can be said to be the foundation to a good wellbeing dialogue. A wellbeing dialogue where we feel safe, where there is room for diversity, and it feels safe to tell how you feel.

When we talk about how we feel, it becomes easier to create an environment where we help and support each other.

Do you share your ideas, thoughts, and questions with your team? Do you tell when you have made a mistake?

Research shows that teams that perform best are characterized by the fact that it is experienced as safe and secure to ask each other questions, articulate their own and others’ mistakes and share concerns with each other. In other words, it is teams with a high degree of psychological security that perform best.

Is your team psychologically safe?

Here are some questions you can use to examine the degree of psychological safety in your team. The more of the behaviors below, the more signs of psychological safety.

  • Are questions asked during meetings?
  • Is it natural to take responsibility over own mistakes?
  • Are difficult conversations are taken?
  • Does everyone get to speak, or is one person dominating discussions?
  • Is feedback requested and given?
  • Do employees’ risk to take assignments outside their own job descriptions?
  • Does the team ask each other for help?
  • Are there disagreements or different views? (Means higher psychological safety…).
  • Do you know each other personally?
If you can answer yes to a high degree to all the points above, then that indicates a high level of psychological safety within the team.

Did you know...

The teams who perform best, are the teams that also make the most mistakes?

This finding started the researcher Amy Edmondsen’s interest in psychological safety. She researched performance, and found: The teams who made most mistakes were also the highest performing teams – the opposite of what one would think?

The explanation lies in psychological safety – feeling safe when sharing ideas, thoughts, and mistakes with colleagues. Feeling safe when talking about our own and others’ vulnerabilities. Feeling safe when talking loudly about our mistakes without fear of team members reactions – then we may have more “mistakes” on paper – but we are also able to learn from our mistakes and perform better.

Likewise, we create a foundation for a good wellbeing dialogue, because we as employees and managers do not fear the team’s reactions when we share our vulnerabilities.

When we don’t make mistakes, we don’t develop – so let’s create a framework where it feels safe to talk about and learn from mistakes.

How do you increase psychological safety?

Show the way

As a manager, one of your most important tools is yourself. You can show the way. Tell your team how you feel, tell when you make mistakes. That way, you acknowledge this behaviour as human and acceptable.

Choose your words

Another tool is to think about your reactions. What do you say when an employee says: “I do not understand”, “I do not feel well” or “This worries me, i do not agree”? Try to increase your awareness about to the words you say and how you say them.

Listen without solving

As humans we like to solve the challenges and problems that we are presented – but before we solve anything it is crucial that we listen! Especially when it is concerning human challenges. Instead of solving, try to investigate by asking question such as: “How have you experienced it?” or “In which situation do you experience this?”