Psykologisk trygghet

Psychological Safety – for Well-being and Attractive Workplaces

What is psychological safety? And why is it so important to try to create a high level of psychological safety as a manager and leader?

Psychological safety can be defined differently depending on the perspective – individual, group, or organization.

Individual level – being able to show and be oneself without fear of negative consequences related to self-image, status, or career (Kahn, 1990).

Group level – a shared belief that it is safe to take interpersonal risks within a group (Edmondson, 1999).

Organizational level – a work environment where employees feel safe expressing themselves without being rejected or punished (Baer & Frese, 2003).

The common denominator is a subjective experience of a safe working context. In such an environment, everyone can speak their minds without fear of negative consequences.

In the ever-changing world we live in, we all need a foundation of secure group belonging to learn new things and dare to challenge our existing ways of working. It is, therefore, essential to cherish and develop psychological safety in groups.

Some keys to creating psychological safety:

  • Daring to ask questions and being met in a supportive and attentive manner.
  • Daring to give and receive feedback without worrying about potential consequences.
  • Experimenting and creating an environment that encourages testing new ideas and approaches, with tolerance for and an understanding that failures are part of the process, contributing to learning.

Psychological safety is increasingly referred to by researchers in leadership and group development psychology as a crucial factor for creating efficiency and well-being in today’s workplace. While this may seem obvious, it becomes particularly interesting when viewed in light of the younger generation entering the job market.

In a recently published report from Glocalities 2022, based on 295,166 interviews conducted in 7 rounds since 2014, a change in values during times of crisis is highlighted among the younger generation. So, what do employers need to focus on developing to attract and retain Generation Z, individuals born between 1997 and 2012, in the workplace?

The 6 areas crystallized by the study were:

  1. Increasing openness, tolerance, and gender role flexibility.
  2. Decreasing the significance of patriarchy and traditional values.
  3. Increasing pessimism, anxiety, and feelings of exclusion.
  4. Increasing pursuit of quick thrills and hedonism (the desire to live life to the fullest).
  5. Increasing political engagement.
  6. Increasing search for meaning, spirituality, art, and vitality.

There is some variability between countries with growing economies and countries with already advanced economies.

To remain and appear as an attractive employer in the future, it is important to:

  • Continue to focus on developing our leaders for increased self-awareness and effective self-leadership.
  • Encourage continuous efforts to develop good communication through a safe and effective feedback culture and a coached approach.
  • Learn more about what an empathetic approach entails and practice implementing it in our leadership.

All of this in an environment characterized by clarity in roles and workplace rules.

Curious for more tips? Feel free to contact us!

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