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Your organizational culture is unique and complex. There’s no one better suited to navigate it than you and your teams. The LeaderFactor licensing agreement will empower your teams to integrate The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety™ into your organization’s culture seamlessly at scale. We’ll provide the facilitator training and assistance to enable you to lead the way.
Psychological safety is crucial for creating a work environment where employees feel safe to express their opinions, ideas, and concerns without fear of negative consequences. Without psychological safety, employees may feel silenced, leading to a lack of innovation and collaboration. Most organizations use an engagement survey to pulse-check their company culture, but those surveys rarely account for psychological safety in their assessment. If they do, it’s usually a single line-item.
Let’s face it, your engagement survey isn’t telling you the whole story about your company culture. Because a lack of psychological safety is the root cause of most culture problems, you should be measuring the levels of psychological safety in your organization across psychological safety’s four stages. In this article, we'll discuss how and why to measure psychological safety, using Dr. Timothy R. Clark's The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety model as a reference.
Psychological safety refers to a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. It is a feeling of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up. In a psychologically safe environment, individuals are more likely to share their thoughts and ideas, leading to better decision-making, collaboration, and innovation. Measuring psychological safety can help organizations identify areas where they need to improve to create a more inclusive workplace culture.
The way to measure psychological safety is through an assessment that can provide you with qualitative and quantitative data about your team members’ experiences with psychological safety at work. Our culture diagnostic tool consists of a series of questions that measure the level of psychological safety in the workplace. These questions can be designed to assess the degree to which team members feel safe to express their ideas, ask questions, admit mistakes, and take risks. Of course, the assessment is anonymous to encourage employees to give honest feedback in the form of qualitative responses.
The results of the culture diagnostic assessment can help organizations identify areas where they need to focus on to improve psychological safety in the workplace. For instance, the results can highlight which teams or departments need more support to create a more psychologically safe environment, which stage of psychological safety they struggle with most, and what next steps of action you can take to increase the levels of psychological safety on that team.
Psychological safety is fairly new in the training and assessment category. It may not be helpful to measure the levels of psychological safety in your organization or work to improve them until they have a shared understanding and language to use around the topic. Leadership development programs can help leaders develop the skills to create and maintain a psychologically safe work environment. These programs can also help leaders understand the importance of psychological safety and how to identify areas that need improvement.
Assessment tools can be used to measure the effectiveness of these training programs. For instance, leaders can be evaluated based on their ability to create a psychologically safe environment, their approachability, their listening skills, and their openness to feedback. By assessing leadership, organizations can identify areas where leaders need more support and training.
Dr. Timothy R. Clark's The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety model provides a framework for measuring psychological safety. The four stages are:
Each stage represents a different level of psychological safety. By understanding these stages, organizations can identify which stage they need to focus on to create a more psychologically safe environment.
There may be barriers to creating a psychologically safe environment, such as fear of failure, lack of trust, negative team dynamics, and lack of leadership support. These barriers can hinder the effectiveness of psychological safety surveys, training, and assessment. To overcome these barriers, organizations need to provide support to their employees, encourage open communication, and lead by example. Leaders should model the behaviors they expect from their employees, such as active listening, openness to feedback, and vulnerability.
Sometimes, bringing indisputable data is the best way to encourage leaders to support a psychological safety initiative. Once you show your stakeholders the areas of toxicity in their organization, they’ll be face-to-face with undeniable evidence that psychological safety will influence their culture for good.
Measuring psychological safety is crucial for creating a work environment where employees feel safe to express their opinions, ideas, and concerns. Organizations can use psychological safety surveys, training, and assessment to identify areas where they need to improve. By using Dr. Timothy R. Clark's The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety model, organizations can better understand the different levels of psychological safety and where to focus their efforts when improving their culture.