Psychological Safety: Ensuring People Get Their Say, Even if They Don’t Get Their Way

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Psychological Safety means everybody gets their say, but it doesn't mean you get your way.

Psychological Safety is an individual's belief, feeling, or perception that it's safe for them to speak up in a situation.

When people are rewarded for speaking candidly, that leads to rigorous debate and better decisions.

Psychological Safety doesn't mean freedom from being challenged or disagreed with.

It doesn't turn the workplace into a democracy and it doesn't mean you need 100% agreement to move forward on anything.

Psychological Safety means you can disagree with your manager or a peer… and they have the safety to disagree in return.

Psychological Safety doesn't mean shutting down a discussion because you feel uncomfortable.

What practices and behaviors have you seen in a workplace that cultivate Psychological Safety? What are some examples of rewarding people for speaking up candidly?

To me, it comes down to three high-level countermeasures for leaders:

  • Modeling candor, vulnerability, and the behaviors you want to see
  • Encouraging candor
  • Rewarding candor

In summary, Psychological Safety is the foundation of a healthy and productive workplace. It ensures that everyone has the opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns without fear of retribution, even if it doesn't always mean getting their way.

Again, Psychological Safety means everybody gets their say, but it doesn't mean you get your way.

When leaders model, encourage, and reward candor, it fosters an environment where rigorous debate leads to better decision-making and continuous improvement. By adopting practices that promote Psychological Safety, such as open communication, constructive feedback, and a growth mindset, organizations can unlock the full potential of their teams.

If you're looking to cultivate Psychological Safety within your organization and drive better outcomes through open and candid dialogue, I can help. With extensive experience in fostering cultures of learning and innovation, I offer consulting, workshops, and coaching tailored to your specific needs.

Contact me today to learn how we can work together to build a safer, more effective workplace. I'm happy to do a free discovery call with you.

Or check out my book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. Or do both :-)


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Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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