One of the things that I take pride in is working with leaders to build workplaces they are proud of. I not only work with them to create these environments for themselves, but also I partner with them so they can envision what this looks like for others. A concept I heavily lean on in this work is psychological safety as it is critical to creating these amazing workplaces. However, recently, I’ve run into some new people who are very intrigued by the concept of psychological safety and want to know what it means, but don’t know very much about it. If you’re one of those people, this edition of the Leading Below the Surface Newsletter is for you!

The most listened-to episode of my podcast is, “Is Psychological Safety Overrated?” In it, I explore business fads like core competencies and quiet quitting, and seriously consider if psychological safety is here to stay (spoiler alert: it is). Since that episode went live last September, global events have caused anxiety and distress to reach all-time highs, adding to a growing trend of stress and burnout. Psychological safety is now more important than ever, because it allows leaders to support employees during hard times and confidently navigate difficult conversations. It is also essential for any leader who is working elevating trust across differences.

So this month, we’re revisiting psychological safety as a core concept that all leaders can build on. With psychological safety, we can truly build workplaces that cultivate cultures of belonging – and that’s the way of the future.

Psychological Safety 101

I opened this month’s first episode of the Leading Below the Surface podcast with a refresher on the basics of psychological safety – what it is, what it isn’t and how it can help transform workplaces for the better. To put it simply, psychological safety is an environment in which people believe that they can speak up candidly with ideas, questions, concerns, and even mistakes. It is the glue that translates a desire for diversity and inclusion into genuine belonging. You could also think of it as a prerequisite. And we all know that diversity, when properly cared for, creates higher-performing teams.

For people to feel they belong at work, they first have to feel that being different is truly valued. When leaders show genuine curiosity, accept feedback, forgive mistakes, and encourage employees to ask for help, they demonstrate a commitment to psychological safety.

Now, does that mean that we should coddle people at work? Absolutely not! For psychological safety to function, people need to be held accountable in a respectful manner and ensured that their contributions matter. It requires a high level of communication and trust (that, by the way, pays off – workplaces with more psychological safety see engagement increase by 76% on average, and productivity by 50%). For employees who come from marginalized backgrounds, psychological safety is even more important. 61% of underrecognized employees feel left out in the workplace, making it more difficult for them to fully contribute.

How to learn more about psychological safety

Together with the Change Coaches team, I’ve put a lot of thought into ways we can provide more resources for leaders who want to deepen their psychological safety skills. One of the things I’m focusing on this year is accessibility, and I’m excited to share what we’ve developed with you.

This guide, assembled by our team, contains information from Leading Below the Surface, content from our workshops, and tips directly from me. It is designed to help leaders explore different tools to reflect on their own work and cultivate more psychologically safe conversations with colleagues and employees. The guide is free to download, and can be accessed here.

In this solocast, I share insights on creating spaces where everyone feels safe to express themselves. This episode focuses on the foundational aspects of psychological safety, emphasizing its critical role in facilitating open, honest, and productive conversations across differences.

In this episode, extraordinary special guest Elisa Glick, PhD and I dive deep into the concept of psychological safety. Join us as Dr. Glick shares her insights on leveraging vulnerability, active listening, and boundary-setting to champion psychological safety and inclusion in any setting. Discover how to lead courageously and create spaces where difficult conversations can lead to meaningful change.

We recently relaunched the Change Coaches LEAD assessment, and psychological safety measures are now measured in every version. This provides key insights on psychological safety ranging from team perceptions of leadership to workplace culture. Learn more about the LEAD assessment here.

If you would like to discuss psychological safety more or if you would like to explore bringing one of our signature workshop experiences to your organization, email us at [email protected] and let’s chat! You can learn more about our offerings at