Psychological Safety: The One Thing That Changes Everything

Psychological Safety: The One Thing That Changes Everything

Angela Splinter, CEO

If people don’t feel safe to be who they are at work – to make mistakes or ask for help – they are less likely to invest, participate fully, or be their best on the job. To quote Maya Angelou “People won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

As leaders, we can help create the kind of workplace where people feel safe and do their best. And – this is where we can invest.

THRC has partnered with leadership expert and author, David Irvine, to deliver a three-part webinar series this fall that is tailored to our sector. The goal of these cost-effective sessions is to deliver practical insights and tools that can be used right away to create a workplace that has greater resilience, clearer purpose, and renewed courage.

Here is what David Irvine has to say about psychological safety.

What is psychological safety?

Great leaders today know that the key to creating a high-performing company is to inspire trust, engagement, and accountability through psychological safety.

So how do you know if people feel safe? How do you know whether people fully trust you as a leader? How do you know if people are secretly looking for another job because of their relationship with you? David Irvine shares an example he heard from a friend who worked in the oil patch 30 years ago:

“Anyone who has worked on the rigs knows that the typical boss in that world is a brutal, kick a** individual. It isn’t uncommon that the first mistake you make is the last.

But my friend’s boss was, in his words, a “generation ahead of himself.” If you made a mistake, he would carefully go through what happened, discuss your rationale for your actions, and talk about what you learned. Then he would respectfully go through a list of the expectations and how you could make improvements going forward. At the end — and this is what stood out for my friend — he would shake your hand. It was clear that you were trusted, respected, and expected to be accountable.

Every morning, he had the team gather for a 15-20 minute informal coffee. This was a chance to learn something about what was going on in people’s lives away from work, and for him to get to know his team. If guys came in hungover or half-drunk he would respectfully send them on their way.

This leader had an authentic way of creating a safe and respectful place to work — even though he wouldn’t use those words. His approach wasn’t about techniques or gimmicks or management fads. It came from his human goodness. It was his presence not his position.

This man set the benchmark for my friend’s leadership philosophy for his entire career. The impact on his life and his leadership lasted a lifetime. Leaders truly create ripples that extend for generations.”

Creating safe spaces

What can we learn from this story? Basically, it’s that there are many techniques to connect with your team, but creating psychological safety in the workplace begins with being a good person. And that we can all become better leaders by being better people.

Learning to be a better person takes a little bit of work, but it can be done. Once you learn to connect in more meaningful ways, listen, and lead with authenticity, you’ll start demonstrating and inspiring psychological safety for everyone around you.

Becoming better leaders

Our Leadership webinar series is an exceptional opportunity to bring leaders (and aspiring leaders) in your team together for cost-effective professional development: three one-hour sessions for one group participation fee.

When you register before September 30 for all three sessions, you also get access to a bonus session — Psychological Safety – The One Thing That Changes Everything.

Join us this fall as David Irvine helps us all become better leaders — for our organizations and for our industry. Find out more here