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Team Effectiveness

Fast Facts About Psychological Safety

Fast Facts About Psychological Safety (1)

Building Trust and Confidence Within Your Team

One concept is steadily emerging as a critical factor in team success—psychological safety. When people feel meaningfully connected and safe at work, they have a reason to bring their best ideas and effort to each and every challenge they face. Creating an environment where your team members feel comfortable taking risks, asking questions, or offering new ideas is the secret ingredient to a productive workplace. 

understanding PsychologicaL Safety

Psychological safety has caught the attention of leaders across the globe for its ability to foster inclusive, collaborative, and high-performing work cultures. Organizational culture has a direct influence on the way people behave and leaders are responsible for creating an environment of positivity and inclusion for employees and amongst team members. 

When psychological safety is high, people take more ownership for their work, resulting in more learning and problem solving—all important outcomes that will drive better results in your organization.

What is Psychological Safety?

Psychological safety refers to the ability to share ideas, take risks, and solicit feedback without fear of repercussion. In the context of the workplace, when employees feel psychologically safe, they believe that their work environment is safe for risk-taking, and they won't be judged for making a mistake, asking a question, or proposing a new idea. 

Is Psychological Safety becoming more ‘popular’?

The needs and expectations of workers has changed drastically in recent years. As work-life balance becomes ever more essential, people are raising their career standards and reimagining their expectations of a positive workplace. 

In October 2022, for the first time ever, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD released Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being, a 30-page document informed by psychological science that outlines the framework for human well-being in the workplace. Murthy breaks down these essentials into five categories:

  1. Protection from Harm – Protect employees through psychical and psychological safety, ensure employees can rest, support and normalize mental health, and stay dedicated to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility.
  2. Opportunity for Growth – Offer training, coaching, education and mentoring throughout an employees tenure, create clear pathways for advancement, and always welcome feedback.
  3. Connection and Community – Cultivate relationships at work through a positive culture and foster collaboration and teamwork.
  4. Mattering at Work - Ensure that all employees have a living wage, engage workers in regular workplace decisions, and make culture a priority
  5. Work-Life Harmony - Provide employees with more autonomy over work, make schedules flexible and predictable, increase access to paid leave, and respect boundaries between work and home life.

With over 160 million people in the U.S. workforce alone, Murthy emphasizes the need for a realignment, stating:

“We have the power to make workplaces engines for mental health and well-being. Doing so will require organizations to rethink how they protect workers from harm, foster a sense of connection among workers, show them that they matter, make space for their lives outside work, and support their long term professional growth.”

The want for a psychologically safe work environment is evident as recent surveys suggest that over 84% of respondents said that their workplace conditions had contributed to at least one mental health challenge and over 81% reported that they will be looking for workplaces that support mental health in the future.


The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety™, developed by Dr. Timothy Clark, describe a social condition in which human beings feel (1) included, (2) safe to learn, (3) safe to contribute, and (4) safe to challenge the status quo—all without fear of being embarrassed, marginalized, or punished in some way.

As participants progress through the four stages, they learn to create an inclusive environment, accelerate learning, increase contribution, and stimulate innovation. The four stages build on each other:

  • Inclusion Safety—accept people as they are with respect and civility, and extend a shared identity
  • Learner Safety—allow people to learn, grow to ask questions, and experiment without repercussions
  • Contributor Safety—encourage people to fully participate and create with competence and confidence
  • Challenger Safety—give people license to challenge and productively dissent without repercussions

The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety™ is grounded in research-based behaviors and teaches leaders how to operate at peak performance by getting every team member to feel engaged, trust one another, commit to common goals, and achieve business objectives.

What does Psychological Safety achieve?

In a psychologically safe environment, employees don't have to fear the repercussions of their actions. They're more likely to share their thoughts openly, leading to increased innovation, better decision-making, and a more engagement. This sense of safety also fosters trust and collaboration.

Source: Workplace Mental Health & Well-being. US Department of Health and Human Services. 

With better psychological safety, every leader, employee, or team member can contribute, challenge, and bring the best of themselves to your organization. Psychological safety training is a proven tactic for creating engaged teams who trust one another, commit to common goals, and achieve bottom-line results. Follow the link below to register for our upcoming workshop and explore how psychological safety can positively impact your leaders, teams, and organizations:

Register for The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety Public Workshop

Kara Janssen

Kara Janssen creates engaging content that connects our clients to the FlashPoint brand and mission, helping them grow as leaders.