Cloud Blog – Why psychological safety is important in your company

Why psychological safety is important in your company

At the moment, we are in the throes of a worldwide upheaval in the workplace: some are now working remotely, some are still in the office, and some are combining both models of work. Against the backdrop of these constant shifts in the workplace, it is easy to see that this trend toward change has become the hallmark of the world. 

The world will continue to change and make adjustments to the way we are used to working. That’s why Amy S. Edmondson, the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, offers some advice on how to get used to the ever-changing work model and create comfort working in a team. 

What is Psychological Safety in the Workplace? 

What is psychological safety in a company? It is a sense of security in figuring out work moments and issues, without fear of personal conflict. Employees should have no worries and no fear of coming forward with questions or mistakes to management. In other words, there should be no fear of being fired for slipping up at work. 

Psychological safety is not a single snapshot but a dynamic journey that unfolds in four distinct stages:

Stage 1: Feeling Able to Take Interpersonal Risks

At its core, psychological safety is about creating an environment where employees feel secure enough to take interpersonal risks without the constant fear of reprisal. It’s the assurance that speaking up, expressing ideas, or even challenging the status quo won’t lead to detrimental consequences.

Stage 2: Being Comfortable Sharing Ideas

Moving beyond risk-taking, psychological safety involves fostering a workplace culture where employees are comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas openly. It’s about creating a space where questions are encouraged, and innovation is nurtured.

Stage 3: Asking Questions and Making Mistakes

In psychologically safe environments, asking questions isn’t seen as a sign of ignorance but rather as a quest for knowledge. Employees are empowered to inquire and, most importantly, to make mistakes. It’s an acknowledgment that learning often springs from errors.

Stage 4: Enabled by Mutual Trust, Respect, and Healthy Communication Norms

A foundation of mutual trust and respect underpins these stages. Trust that colleagues won’t undermine or backstab, and respect for the unique perspectives each team member brings. Healthy communication norms, which include active listening and open dialogue, further bolster this trust

Benefits of Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Now, let’s delve into why psychological safety is not just a nice-to-have but a must-have in today’s business landscape.

1. Empowers Innovation

Psychological safety ignites the flames of innovation. When employees know that their ideas won’t be met with ridicule but rather with open arms, they are more likely to brainstorm, experiment, and push the boundaries of what’s possible. This freedom to innovate can lead your company to new heights and keep it ahead of the competition.

2. Enhances Employee Engagement

Engaged employees are the heartbeat of a successful organization. When individuals feel safe expressing themselves and know their contributions matter, they become more committed to their work. They’re not just punching the clock but are deeply invested in the company’s mission.

3. Fosters Effective Communication

Effective communication is the lifeblood of any thriving organization. Psychological safety fosters an environment where employees can openly express concerns, provide feedback, and engage in constructive debates. This results in quicker problem-solving and well-informed decision-making.

4. Reduces Turnover and Attracts Talent

High employee turnover can be a financial drain on any organization. By nurturing psychological safety, you can retain your top talent and create an attractive workplace for prospective employees. A secure and respectful environment is one where employees want to stay and new talent is eager to join.

Why Psychological Safety Matters Now More Than Ever

In an era marked by rapid change and unprecedented challenges, the significance of psychological safety in your company has never been more pronounced. Let’s delve into why it matters now and explore how both leaders and team members can cultivate this essential element.

So, why psychological safety is important?

The Rapid Pace of Change

The business landscape is evolving at a breakneck speed. Technological advancements, shifting consumer preferences, and global crises demand that organizations adapt and evolve continually. In such an environment, employees must be adaptable and open to continuous learning. Psychological safety is the linchpin that enables this adaptability. When employees feel safe to explore new approaches, they are more likely to embrace change, experiment with innovative solutions, and drive your company’s success.

Diverse, Distributed Teams

Modern companies often have teams scattered across different locations and time zones. Diverse and distributed teams rely heavily on open communication and inclusion. To harness the collective intelligence of such teams, it’s crucial to establish a psychologically safe environment. When individuals from diverse backgrounds feel safe sharing their perspectives, it sparks creativity and effective collaboration, leading to the development of groundbreaking solutions.

Innovation Through Exchange

Innovation is no longer a solitary endeavor but the result of freely exchanging ideas and perspectives. In an era where groundbreaking ideas can come from any corner of your organization, psychological safety is the catalyst that encourages employees to voice their thoughts without fear of rejection. It’s this environment that nurtures the seeds of innovation and fosters a culture of continuous improvement.

How Leaders Can Cultivate Psychological Safety at Work

Leaders play a pivotal role in creating and nurturing a psychologically safe workplace. Here’s how they can lead the charge:

  • Lead by Example: Leaders must set the tone by being open and approachable. When employees see their leaders actively participating in discussions and admitting their own mistakes, it fosters a culture of psychological safety.
  • Active Listening: Leaders should practice active listening and provide constructive feedback. Employees need to feel heard and valued, and feedback should be focused on improving ideas and processes, not criticizing individuals.
  • Empower Employees: Encourage employees to take the initiative and speak openly about their concerns and ideas. When they see that their contributions are not only welcomed but also acted upon, it strengthens their commitment to the company.
  • Criticize Ideas, Not People: Leaders should emphasize that it’s the ideas that are subject to scrutiny, not the individuals presenting them. This distinction allows for open and constructive discussions without personal attacks.

Here are three tips on how to create such an atmosphere of trustworthiness and safety in your company, according to Asana experts. 

1. Don’t raise your expectations

We used to think that if we did our job well, the result would also be good, and this rule really works. But there are still exceptions to the rules, in which this does not work. So, even at this stage of the project, talk about all the details with your management team, inform them about the progress of tasks. After all, even if you hone your work to perfection, you may not get the overall desired result. 

On the part of managers, it is important to take any information solely as the facts. Everything your employees come to you with should be nothing more than information upon which you can make decisions. As a leader, show that feedback is important to you and that it is even welcome. By showing objectivity in resolving conflicts or issues, you show professionalism and make your colleagues feel good about you.

2. Invite to a dialogue

For example, let’s say you’ve already made your employees feel welcome and now you have to have a constructive dialogue with them, but where do you start? To have a productive conversation, you need to create a safe and supportive atmosphere. You can do this simply by asking specific questions. Examples of such questions are:

  • What do you think about this? 
  • What alternatives might we also consider? 
  • What do other colleagues think about this? 
  • What prompted you to ask this question? 

A good question should not only make the person you are talking to feel comfortable but also help them get to the point together. Such questions help you dive deeper into the topic, as well as show your interest in the conversation, which, on a psychological level, will greatly make you seem favorable to the person you’re interacting with. 

3. Answer carefully

As a rule, the reaction to unpleasant information in most cases is negative: emotions take over and this is not at all what is necessary for a productive conversation. Learn to react calmly, no matter how bad the news is, in order to be able to make the person feel comfortable and trustworthy. Understand that if you react negatively, the person is unlikely to want to come back to you with their problem or question. 

Learn to respond as if you were observing the situation from the sidelines, for example: “Thank you for sharing this information, how can I help you?” By giving your employees comfort in dealing with unpleasant news, you can make sure that you are notified if something goes wrong. That’s better than having people afraid to come to you with bad results and the company losing their money in the meantime, isn’t it? 

How Your Employees Can Increase Psychological Safety at Work

Creating a culture of psychological safety is a collective effort. Here are some key actions team members can take to contribute:

  • Encourage Open Dialogue: Actively encourage open dialogue within your team. Make it clear that different viewpoints are welcome, and all team members should feel free to express their ideas.
  • Provide Positive Feedback: Recognize and provide positive feedback when you see someone taking a risk or sharing a valuable idea. This positive reinforcement reinforces psychological safety.
  • Support Your Colleagues: Show support for your colleagues when they encounter challenges. Be empathetic and offer assistance when needed, reinforcing the idea that everyone is in this together.
  • Acknowledge Mistakes: Don’t shy away from acknowledging your own mistakes. It sets an example for others that making errors is a natural part of growth and innovation.

Creating a Psychologically Safe Space for Remote Workers

The rise of remote work has added a layer of complexity to psychological safety. To foster it in a virtual workplace, consider these strategies:

  • Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular virtual team meetings for open discussions and feedback sessions. These can mimic the watercooler chats that often lead to new ideas.
  • Use Collaboration Tools: Utilize collaboration tools and platforms that facilitate easy communication and idea sharing among remote team members.
  • Training and Workshops: Offer virtual training and workshops on topics related to psychological safety and effective virtual communication.

How to Know if Your Employees Feel Safe

Finally, it’s essential to gauge whether your employees truly feel psychologically safe. You can use surveys, feedback sessions, and anonymous suggestion boxes to gather their thoughts. Analyze the data and, if needed, make adjustments to further foster psychological safety within your organization.

In this ever-evolving business landscape, psychological safety is the cornerstone that empowers employees to adapt, collaborate, and innovate. It’s the key to building high-performing, innovative teams that can weather the storms of change and lead your company to new heights. So, ask yourself: Is your company’s culture one of psychological safety, adaptability, and innovation?

Scale Psychological Safety

Your company’s safety starts with your team, so start building trust at the interview stage. Three seemingly simple steps can be difficult to implement and start putting into practice right away. So use the Asana planning tool to start strengthening relationships with your colleagues in stages. 

When it comes to project management tools, there are a lot of options to choose from. Two of the most popular options are Asana and To help you decide which tool is right for you, we’ve written a blog post comparing the two. In our article Asana vs Monday, we take a look at the features, pricing, and user reviews of each tool.

The security of your cloud is just as important as the security atmosphere within the company. If you haven’t already secured your organization from a technical standpoint, then we recommend studying this material or seeking help from Cloudfresh experts. The Cloudfresh team is a unique center of expertise for Google Cloud, Zendesk, and Asana. For these products, we can provide you with the following services: 

  • Customization;
  • Development;
  • Integration;
  • Training;
  • License;
  • Support.

Our Asana consultants will help you optimize your IT infrastructure, develop integrations for better system interoperability, and help create completely new structures and processes for your teams, while our support center will provide you with the best customer experience! 


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