Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. If you change the nature and quality of the conversations in your team, the quality of your outcomes increases exponentially. Psychological safety is the core component to unlock this.
This is the definition of Prof. Amy C. Edmondson at Harvard Business School. She has been researching the effect of psychological safety or – rather the absence of it- on performance and effectiveness in teams and organizations for over 25 years. She developed the Psychological Safety Index – a questionnaire that is used to measure the level of psychological safety in organizations and has proven to correlate strongly to team performance.
The Four Dimensions
Psychological safety can be made actionable via four domains. The PSI shows personal and team results on each of these domains.
- Inclusion: a sense of belonging, the degree to which team members can be themselves and are welcomed for this. When team members feel included, they are more inclined to speak up, contribute and add to the group.
- Learning environment: attitude toward risk and failure, process of (interpersonal) reflection/feedback,
- Contribution: appreciate contributions, attention for interdependence and willingness to help
- Open conversations: the degree to which a team has open and conversations about challenging and sensitive topics.
Psychological Safety Index (PSI)
The Psychological Safety Index is an effective way to measure and debrief the level of psychological safety in a team located in any environment, providing a gateway to building (and in some cases, re-building) team effectiveness. The PSI provides a critical insight into how a team learns and works together. It is a solid base for working with teams to intentionally create positive impact on the levels of psychological safety in organizations.
- Conversation one-on-one with team leader: setting context of work, motivation and goals. When appropriate – more introduction conversations with before the introduction session.
- Introduction Session with Team: introduce concept of safety & Psychological Safety Index (PSI).
- Run PSI:
- Each participant receives a custom report with their personal results.
- Debrief session with team: opening up conversations
- Collective learning: survey results serve as a conversation starter about personal perceptions about psychological safety and collaboration.
- Formulating next steps.
Interested to learn about and improve psychological safety in your team? Please contact the School of Narrative Leadership via firstname.lastname@example.org.