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Easy to Say, Harder to Do:

Putting psychological safety Into practice

Psychological safety is having a moment, and with good reason. In spite of the fact that the ideas behind psychological safety have been over a century in the making, it wasn’t until 2012 findings from Google’s Project Aristotle on high-performing teams, combined with Harvard professor Amy Edmondson’s pioneering research in 2017, that companies began to appreciate the deep impact psychological safety has on team performance, enterprise growth, innovation, and more. Today, spend a few minutes reading about the topic online, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find an aspect of workplace performance that isn’t reported to be positively impacted by improved levels of psychological safety. Whether it’s strategy, inclusion, or health and wellness, it all gets better with more psychological safety, we’re told.

You’d have to be foolish to question these results, wouldn’t you? In the spirit of psychological safety, consider me questioning. To be clear, the question isn’t about the value of being able to speak up, take risks and make mistakes without fear of negative consequences — all important aspects of how we define the concept of psychological safety.

The question is about how. Depending on your role and position inside a company, psychological safety also asks you to be vulnerable, bring your whole self to work, be courageous and challenge authority for a purpose. These acts hold real value in creating the kinds of work environments where we can all thrive. It’s also a tall order to put into practice, even for very experienced leaders, which may explain why so many of my C-level clients ask: How does this actually work?

Please select this link to read the complete article from Chief Executive.

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