How to improve psychological safety in the workplace

By Josh Kohlbach, CEO and founder of Rymera Web Co, the creators of the Wholesale Suite.

As business owners and entrepreneurs, we want to bring out the best in our employees. The reason we do it is to increase your productivity and improve your efficiency.

In doing so, what we often forget is to create a work environment that promotes the psychological safety of employees. Your employees won’t be able to give their best effort unless they feel safe on the job.

Psychological safety is when you can speak or act confidently and be yourself without fear of being judged, humiliated, or rejected for sharing your ideas, questions, and concerns.

Employees who experience psychological safety trust one another without judgment. They fail without being labeled and express their opinions without being humiliated.

Working in such an environment can help your employees in a number of ways. It can promote a positive state of mind, no matter how busy they are with work. This can help them feel more creative, which in turn makes them more productive and efficient.

Now the question is, how do you improve psychological safety in the workplace? Let’s look at three easy ways to do it.

1. Lead with empathy.

One of the most important factors to consider when leading a team is being empathetic. When you show empathy instead of ego, you help build trust within the team. Building trust is vital to creating honest and nurturing relationships between the team and management.

When you treat your team with empathy, you assure them that you care about them and that their feelings and needs will be taken care of. Letting your team feel that is a very powerful way to build psychological safety in the workplace.

So instead of leading with ego, learn to lead with empathy. Be nice to your team and be attentive to their concerns and issues.

2. Be open to feedback.

To create a positive workplace, you must be open to feedback. Getting feedback from your employees can help you improve the workplace and improve employee satisfaction. So encourage your employees to voice their opinion and raise their concerns. This can help you to know about the loopholes and glitches in the system.

It is not possible to improve your system unless you have the negatives. Getting feedback helps you understand the flaws, shortcomings, and gaps that need to be fixed to make it a better place. But not all employees may feel comfortable giving feedback openly.

To encourage such employees to provide feedback, you can try sending them feedback forms once every three months. Let them know that their comments will remain anonymous. This can give them the confidence to give their honest opinion.

3. Foster inclusion and acceptance.

This point is especially important for companies with a global team. As a leader, you must encourage inclusion and diversity in the team.

Most smart leaders in current times outperform their competitors by respecting the potential, unique needs, and perspectives of their employees.

But sometimes, despite his desire to create an environment of inclusion and acceptance, he fails to create one. That’s because you haven’t trained your managers well enough to run it the way you want.

Your managers act as the bridge that connects employees to management. You may not always be able to interact with your employees one on one. That’s where managers come in. This makes training your managers to manage diversity so important.

Be sure to explain why diversity and inclusion is important to your business and set expectations for how you want employees to treat their teammates.

4. Leave room for mistakes.

Another very effective way to create psychological safety in the workplace is to leave room for mistakes. Mistakes are important for team growth. It is a positive and powerful part of a person’s learning process.

So let your team know that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as they learn from those mistakes. Instead of berating or shaming them for their mistakes, take it as a learning lesson.

Letting them know this can help them grow professionally and create an atmosphere of psychological safety.

Creating a psychologically safe atmosphere is important to boosting employee morale and retaining team members longer. When employees feel safe at work, they feel more productive and become more efficient.

So if you haven’t considered creating a psychologically safe workspace yet, start working on it now. It is a very effective way to increase employee satisfaction and increase employee loyalty.

Opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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