(Pt.5) How Mental Health and Wellness is Driving Demand for Psychological Safety


February 6, 2023



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Show Notes

This episode is part five in our five part series on "What's Driving Demand for Psychological Safety". When individuals feel psychologically safe at work, they are more likely to report positive mental health outcomes such as increased job satisfaction, higher levels of well-being, and lower levels of stress and burnout.

(05:20) What is mental health? Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think and feel and act, and it also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Previously organizations looked at individuals as "units of production" and only recently are we finally beginning to recognize individuals humanity.

(13:56) Employers have a duty of care towards their employees. This is certainly the case for employee physical safety. How far does this duty of care reach? Does it encompass mental health? Ask yourself, "Do you bear some level of responsibility for the mental health and well-being of the people you employ, the people you associate with, and look even more broadly in association, just any social collective." The answer is yes, you do bear some of the responsibility.

(20:34) More than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression worldwide according to World Health Organization. 76% of US workers in 2021 survey reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition, including anxiety and depression, which is an increase of 17% from just two years ago. According to the American Psychological Association, stress levels in the United States have been steadily increasing over the past decade, with almost two-thirds of Americans reporting that their stress levels have increased in the past year. Mental health and wellness is a growing category that deserves deliberate attention.

(26:38) ISO, The International standards Organizations Standard 405-003 is a new standard that recognizes that employers are responsible for protecting not just the physical health of their employees but the psycho-social health as well. This means managing psychosocial risks, which are defined in that regulation as risks related to how work is organized. Not risks related to the work itself but also risks related to how work is organized.

(39:31) Psychological safety and a positive workplace culture can help to reduce the stigma associated with mental health making it more likely that individuals will seek the support they need. When individuals feel psychologically safe at work, they are more likely to report positive mental health outcomes such as increased job satisfaction, higher levels of well-being, and lower levels of stress and burnout.

Important Links
World Health Organization - Mental health: strengthening our response.

Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General - Workplace Well-Being

Employee Retention Statistics And Insights 2022

2021 Employee Wellbeing Mindset StudyNYT - The Rising Tide of Global Sadness

World Health Organization - Depression

Australian Bureau of Statistics - National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing

National Institute of Mental Health - Mental Illness

American Psychological Associate - Stress in America

Mental Health Commission of Canada - National Standard

Episode Transcript

0:00:02.0 Producer: Welcome back, culture by design listeners, it's Freddy, one of the producers of the podcast, and today is part five in our five-part series on what's driving demand for psychological safety. If you've been listening with us this far, we've done an episode over viewing the topic, we've covered social injustice and exclusion, competitiveness and innovation, employee engagement and retention, and today we'll top it off with psychological safety as it relates to mental health and well-being, when individuals feel psychologically safe at work, they are more likely to report positive mental health outcomes such as increased job satisfaction, higher levels of well-being and lower levels of stress and burnout. We're excited to cover this topic with you today, we've included important links and relevant studies in this episode... Show notes at leader factor.com/podcast. Enjoy today's episode on why mental health and well-being is driving demand for psychological safety.

0:01:15.0 Junior: Welcome back everyone to culture by design. I'm here again with Dr. Tim Clark, and today we'll be discussing mental health and well-being as one of the drivers of demand for psychological safety. Tim, how are you.

0:01:25.4 Tim: Doing? Great, look forward to the conversation. This is an incredibly relevant and timely topic, so we're gonna jump into it.

0:01:32.8 Junior: It is... I'm excited too. This is our fifth episode in this series, if you haven't had the opportunity to listen to the first few... No worries. You can start here, however, we would highly recommend that you go back and listen afterwards to the previous episodes to gain a better understanding of the additional context surrounding demand for psychological safety, for those of you who've been following along and have watched those or listen to those previous episodes, we've now covered an overview, we've covered inclusion, innovation, engagement and retention, and now mental health and well-being all as drivers for demand in psychological safety in today's fast-paced world, taking care of our mental health and well-being is more important than ever. Many of you know that many of you have experienced that, and many people are facing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety and uncertainty, so in this episode will be discussing various aspects of mental health and well-being and the effect that organizational culture has on our mental health because the connection is quite interesting, and as always, if you like today's episode, please share it, that helps other people see this content, the world desperately needs content like this, and we'll be sharing quite a bit of data today, so any references that we talk about will be linked in the show notes.

0:02:48.9 Junior: So Tim, help us understand this topic to set the foundation mental health and well-being... Why is it that we're talking about this today? Why is this so important?

0:03:02.4 Tim: Well, I think it's just become magnified and importance, it's always been important, but the research is catching up, the avalanche of outcomes, adverse consequences are catching up, especially coming out of the pandemic, and so we're kind of swimming in results in data and outcomes that we can't deny and so now we kinda have to take stock of where we are and we have to acknowledge where we are, and we have to think more about what we're going to do about this relationship, which is In controversies, the relationship between psychological safety and mental health and well-being... And that's why we're here. So we're gonna dig into it, and by the end, Junior, and thanks for the incredible work that you've done on this, the show notes, the reference sources, the sources of data are unbelievable, and there's a lot there, so for those of you who wanna dig into this, go to the show notes and you'll see the sources we're drawing from today and this conversation.

0:04:13.3 Junior: As we begin, I wanna give you a brief overview of where we're headed today, what we're going to be talking about... So we're going to be talking about people and the tangible nature of certain things that we do and certain things that we are, and the intangibles, the invisible nature of some of what we do, we're gonna define mental health, we're gonna talk about the perspective of mental health, from a global perspective, we're gonna talk about the who, we're gonna talk about the US Surgeon General, we're gonna talk about the duty of care that organizations have toward their employees, both physically and psychologically, we're gonna talk about the unprecedented times, and that's where a lot of the data is going to come in to show you just how different today is than just a short time ago. We're gonna be talking about some of the new regulations, some of the new legislation and some of the patterns that we're seeing globally in different parts of the world and different organizations and the changes that they're making, and then we're going to talk about the relationship between psychological safety and mental health and well-being. So that's where we're headed today.

0:05:20.3 Junior: Just wanted to give you just a brief overview. So every employee who does any job is a person, there are a person with skills, but they're more than just bodies who do things, there are people, their emotions, their feelings, and there are just as many, if not more, probably more invisible things going on than visible tangible and measurable things going on, and yet our pattern over the last several hundred years is to focus on the tangible and the visible, maybe several thousand, probably not overstating it. If we don't get those invisible things right, including mental health and well-being are going to get a lot of other things wrong as consequence, some of which we've touched on in previous episodes, if we don't get this right, we're not going to be able to innovate. We won't be able to retain our people, they won't be engaged, and of course, their mental health and well-being will be less than desirable. So Tim, before we dive in, let's define some terms. What is mental health as you see it? 

0:05:20.3 Tim: Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being affects how we think and feel and act, and it also helps determine how we handle stress and relate to others and make healthy choices.

0:06:36.1 Junior: So think about how big of a part of our lives that is every day, and what we're saying is that the experience that you have in the workplace affect that... Well, of course, it affects that, how can it not affect your mental health and well-being? You spend a tremendous amount of time working in the workplace doing what you do, so it has a direct impact on those parts of your life. So let's talk about the who and what they say they say mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well and contribute to their community, is an integral component of health and well-being under pins are individual and collective abilities to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in, and here's an interesting part... This one struck me. Mental health is a basic human right. Yeah, and it is crucial to personal community and socio-economic development. Mental health is a basic human right. I don't think that you would see that sentence inside of the definition of Mental Health several years ago.

0:07:45.7 Tim: Now, and I think this... This makes me want to bring up the point that years ago, and perhaps for centuries Junior, we looked at a person in a context of an organization as a unit of production, you are a unit of production, that's what you are, so we're not acknowledging your humanity, we're not seeing you that way as a human being, but you're a unit of production, you're a cog in the wheel, and so that's the way that we conceptualize people, and if you go all the way back to empires, for example... Just think about the Roman Empire. How did the Roman Empire treat human beings? Was their regard... Was there a steam? Was there value for human life... Not really. So you were a unit of production, well, when did that change, when did we cross over to re-conceptualize human beings as more than units of production? It's actually not that long ago. Because the reality is, and I hate to acknowledge this, but every nation on the planet has exploited workers in its past, every single nation. That's the history of development. That's the history of nations, is that there is some history of exploitation and every nation...

0:09:13.8 Tim: So somewhere along the line, we said, Well, hang, a human being is not merely a unit of production... A human being is much more than that, right? Junior, that's pretty recent.

0:09:27.0 Junior: It's very recent, we've gone all the way from enslaving people to build big Pyramids, they certainly didn't have mental health as a basic human right in their handbook, what we do today, and the who's gonna say mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders, and this part was also striking to me, it exists on a complex continuum, which is experienced differently from one person to the next with varying degrees of difficulty and distress and potentially very different social and clinical outcomes. Let me tell you why this is interesting to me, it's interesting to me because mental health, you can't talk about mental health and generalities or as it relates specifically to you, and then use that as a projection on what you expect from other people, and that's true. One-to one outside of work, it's certainly true inside organizations, This is just a universal truth, that people have different experiences, and they could have the same experience, the exact same stimulus and react a different way or see something differently than you might... So just because something doesn't affect you adversely, it doesn't mean it won't affect someone else adversely, and I've been thinking a lot about this, it could be, as I said, the exact same stimulus, and some people may disregard mental health even as a category and say, Well, nothing happens professionally that affects my mental health...

0:10:54.9 Junior: First of all, I don't think that that's true, ever. And two, if you do think that that's true, you have to acknowledge that not everyone is you, so regardless you're met with this fact that mental health is something you need to pay attention to and something you need to be sensitive too, as it relates to other people, different people have different experiences, and their reaction is going to depend on what they've experienced, the tools that they have, the knowledge that they have, and so I think it's interesting that the WH includes that as part of their definition, I think is extremely helpful to me.

0:11:29.0 Tim: Well, and Junior, we have to acknowledge that we do have different experiences and... Well, for example, a leader factor, what do we do we swim in data, we are measuring the experiences that employees are having all around the world, and what do we see in every organization, we see dramatic variants from team to team, from person to person, that variance is in reality, sometimes it's shocking, it's breath-taking to see the amount of variance that exists. People are having different experiences. Here, isn't it? Just amazing.

0:12:07.0 Junior: It is amazing, and we have a unique perspective. Because as you say, we're swimming in the data, and not only do we get all of the quantitative data, we get all of the qualitative data, so think of the number of entries that we've been able to read about people's experience relative to the four stages of psychological safety, one of the questions on the assessment, what is one thing that prevents you from feeling included on your team, you know, many responses we have to that question, many, many. Taino, they're so varied and it's fascinating to go through and read those in volume, real volume and see what people are experiencing, and they're experiencing things that you probably would not... Guess you probably would not into it if you were just third party observer, because these are invisible things, the dynamics, the social dynamics that people experience day-to-day are not things that we can easily identify in every case, and sometimes it's very new on... Sometimes they're very subtle, and sometimes people are suffering in silence, they get some outlet to be able to describe their experience and it can be surprising just how negative some of it is.

0:13:15.6 Junior: Right, so the premises that we all need to understand that the people that you're working with and the people in your organization and your colleagues and your co-workers, they are not necessarily probably not having the experience of your heavy...

0:13:34.8 Tim: They affirmatively or not having a... Ethernet may be having an experience that's maybe similar to yours, but that's as good as it gets, people are having varied experiences, and that's the reality that variance... That variability is there. It's real, and it relates to mental health and well-being.

0:13:56.2 Junior: So let's move on to another principle that I think is a big rock, that's a piece of a core logic that pulls this entire train of thought together, and it has to do with the duty of care, duty of care is the idea that an employer or an organization that employs people has a duty of care towards its employees. Now, the genesis of Judo care comes from the physical domain, that we bear some responsibility for the physical safety of our workers, if you look into the history of psychological safety and some of our assets, we can link one or two in the show notes, it goes through a little bit of this history, but it's fascinating that all of a sudden you post pyramids much later, we're saying, You know what, we bear some responsibility for the physical safety of these people that we employ, so there was an era before that, which was a very long era in which that wasn't the case, people did not acknowledge that there was a duty of care... Right, and so this duty of care idea, I think is part of this core logic, because we then ask the question, What exactly is the duty of care, and it's a deep question, that's a difficult nuanced question, but our argument, and it seems that most others are in agreement that the duty of care that an organization has towards its employees extends past the physical, it extends past what is visible, observable, tangible, measurable, and it goes into the invisible domain.

0:15:32.1 Junior: How far does that duty of care reach... Does it encompass mental health? Yes, it does. How far... Something that we can discuss, but certainly we bear some responsibility for employees mental health and well-being, so I think that that is one of the questions that we have to ask ourselves, and I wanna encourage every listener to ask, Do you bear some level of responsibility for the mental health and well-being of the people you employ, the people you associate with, and look even more broadly in association, just any social collective. Do you bear some level of responsibility for your friends mental health and well-being, your family's mental health and well-being is an interesting question, and it seems to me the majority of us would probably say, Yeah, you know what, I don't know exactly how much... Because people have responsibilities for themselves, but I bear some responsibility... What do you think do?

0:16:27.3 Tim: I completely agree with that. And so we have to ask the question, so then if we bear some responsibility... What does that translate into? Right, what is that responsibility to translate into... Well, I think it translates into at least two things, it translates into conditions, so we said, Okay, we're moving beyond the physical... And we're talking about mental health and well-being. So it translates into conditions that relate to the culture and the way we interact, and two... It translates into treatment, the way we treat each other, so conditions in treatment at least, it translates into those two things, and so we bear some responsibility. Now, that begs the question, do we bear primary responsibility? Good question. And our point of view is that we do not... We bear a secondary responsibility, the individual bears the primary responsibility for their mental health and well-being, and that will always be true, they are agents, they have to take primary ownership and responsibility for their mental health and well-being, we have a support role to play, the organization, the team, co-workers, colleagues, we play a secondary role, but that's a critical role and it has a massive and significant impact on the mental health and well-being of the individual.

0:17:56.3 Tim: We have to acknowledge that. We know that's true, but we've gotta get that right, right. The order of priority is the individual takes ownership first, primary the team organization, secondary.

0:18:10.4 Junior: They're important points. So to recap those two points, what we're saying is that the organization has a duty of care to its employees that extends past what's physical, they bear some responsibility for the employee's mental health and well-being. We're also saying in the same breath, if that is a support role that we're not identifying you from all of the loss or the downside risk, because you are primarily responsible, you mentioned on your own well being, similar to own your own engagement. We have a strong point of view here, and although this is probably important to say as well, that while the organization has secondary responsibility, it's probably more responsibility than most organizations are currently taking... Let's put it that way.

0:19:00.7 Tim: Yeah, that's probably true.

0:19:02.4 Junior: Now, let's talk about why this is so important today. Why today, why is mental health and well-being a driver of psychological safety today in a way that it wasn't... A short time ago, I think it's safe to say that we're living in unprecedented times, and I think many people throughout history have said the same thing and maybe deservedly so, but I use chat CPT the other day, and it's certainly an unprecedented time that the Nature Place has changed. We're more connected in a sense, I suppose work is more demanding in some sense, maybe not physically, and work bleeds into areas of your personal life that it didn't... Before, I mentioned that we were more connected. And then you said that there's a paradox inside of that... Explain that.

0:19:52.8 Tim: Well, the paradox is that you're more connected and yet you may feel more isolated at the same time, how can that be... Isn't that a paradox? A more connected and yet feeling more isolated, but that's what happens, or that's what has happened to many, many people, and so we have to acknowledge that interaction... This goes back to a very important principle, interaction is not necessarily connection, they're not the same things, so we have to make that distinction between those two things, and so we are now working and living in a very complex working environment, many of us are...

0:20:30.6 Junior: So let's back this up with some facts.

0:20:32.4 Tim: Jay... Yeah, let's do it.

0:20:34.2 Junior: I went ahead and gathered some data that I think will help strengthen this point, the point that we're living in an unprecedented time, so the WHO global organization says More than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression worldwide, the leading cause of disability and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease, so depression lives in the space of mental health and well-being, and we're saying a quarter of a billion people suffer from this worldwide, 76% of US workers in 2021 survey reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition, including anxiety and depression, which is... And here's the important part, an increase of 17%age points in just two years ago..

0:21:25.6 Tim: One... Yeah, and that's three out of four. You said 76%.

0:21:31.1 Junior: Three out four. That's incredible, it is. It's a 20% increase over two years, so we talked a little bit about engagement and retention the other day, there's a stat along those lines, 81% of workers reported that they will be looking for workplaces to support mental health in the future.

0:21:50.7 Tim: Now, that's really, really interesting to me because what they're saying is the workers, the employees are saying that I am consciously going to make that a decision criterion in my decision of where I'm going to work. That's absolutely amazing. 81% are going to take a systematic approach, a methodical approach, a reflective approach to say, Is this a place where I think I can thrive? Where I think I can be myself, where I think I can make meaningful connections, where I think I can make meaningful contributions, where I think I can learn and grow. Do you see what's happening here? People are becoming much more deliberate and reflective about making the decision of where they're going to work, and it's not all about compensation... No, and we'll talk about that.

0:22:51.2 Junior: Yeah, go listen to the retention and engagement episode, we talk about that as a last factor that people are on a ICOS, a whole host of variables, so it's pretty interesting. So ask yourselves, do you check that box? Not that that's the only reason you do it, but if an applicant, a prospects looking at your organization through that lens, will they be able to say, Yeah, this place supports mental health, if not eight out of 10 are gonna be a little bit... 84% of respondents reported at least one workplace factor that had a negative impact on their mental health, so 84% are saying something's going on at work that's negatively impacting my mental health, so if you think that there's opportunity... There's opportunity, 85% of people say that there's opportunity. So that's an interesting statistic to me, it also highlighted, Junior, that people are aware of their environment, they're aware of their surroundings, they are aware of their workplace conditions, and they're identifying something and say, What's that is not lost on them?

0:24:03.2 Tim: No, it has a direct bearing on their mental health and well-being... They're making that connection.

0:24:09.6 Junior: Yeah, it's fascinating. Okay, American Psychological Association, Stress levels in the United States have been steadily increasing over the past decade, with almost two-thirds of Americans reporting that their stress levels have increased in the past year. There's another one, study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that almost 20% of adults in the United States experience some for mental illness in a given year. This equates to around 44 million people. So when you talk in percentages, sometimes the numbers get lost... 44 million people, that's a lot of people. So we've talked to Global, we've talked America, now we'll get to Australia. Anything you wanna say on that point though too...

0:24:50.9 Tim: Yeah, I do, I just wanna say that 20% in a given year, that means that the next year it could be a different 20%. It's not the same cohort, so this is... 'cause it's a rolling 20%.

0:25:06.5 Junior: Yeah, just wanna point that out. Very helpful. So let's look at Australia in a study from 2021, 94% of workers are stressed about that stat, 94%, 78% believe the pandemic is have really affected their mental and physical health, 40% is self-reported are making more flawed decisions. I thought that that was an interesting item, they're saying that they're saying that, yeah, 90% report that new work-related stress affect home life. That's interesting to me. So all of these statistics from this report support some of the patterns and some of the legislation that we're seeing inside Australia. So Australia is categorizing some of the social risk as psychosocial hazards, and that's what it's labeled as in some domains, and it's more and more accepted, these are hazards that harm workers mental health in general. So under the WH Laws in Australia, a person conducting a business or undertaking such as an employer, so it is a very broad language, must manage psychosocial risks at work, the recruiter required to the Haviland SS the risks to mental health. So the next few that we wanna share help us understand the direction that most of the world is headed and that most organizations are headed...

0:26:38.7 Junior: So let's talk about ISO, the international standards organizations, 405-003. So this new standard recognizes that employers are responsible for protecting not just the physical health of their employees, as we've talked about, but the psycho-social health as well, this means managing psychosocial risks, which are defined in that regulation as risks related to how work is organized. So not risks related to the work itself, risks related to how work is organized. That is an interesting way to put it.

0:27:12.7 Tim: Yeah. And Junior, we need to just point out that this ISO standard 45003 is the first global standard for addressing psychosocial hazards, and it was promulgated back in June of last year. This is unprecedented. This has never happened before. So we need to understand. This is an inflection point. You mentioned Australia and their W-H laws. Now we have the ISO standard 45003. So look what's happening here. So there's an inflection point. Let's keep going.

0:27:51.7 Junior: We got Canada too, and Canada has been ahead of us for a while here, and the way that they address psychosocial risk factors in the workplace, and comes from the national standard of Canada for psychological health and safety in the workplace is a first... In this category, it's a set of voluntary guidelines, but there are guidelines, tools and resources intended, the guide organizations in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm at work, and that's like 2013-14.

0:28:26.4 Tim: 14. I believe so, think about this, and I believe that this is the first national standard that was issued by a sovereign nation, in this case, Canada, 2014. So we're moving down the road. But this is an inflection point. It takes a lot of time. This is global, but these are some indicators that we've gotta pay attention to.

0:28:49.4 : We've been calling the 2020s a decade of culture, and I think this helps make our point, I hope that you think about each of these standards in this pattern that we're identifying here, it's very difficult to look at these standards all across the world and say, Oh, it's not that important, mental health is not that important, it's trendy or it's a fad, it's flavor of the day.

0:29:18.1 Junior: How could you possibly ever say that when you're met with all of this data, and I say that to myself as well, each of us needs to look at this data objectively, look at the direction the world is headed and understand it, you cannot be in denial about the importance of this work. So let's move forward to this church in general, because this one's recent packs a punch. So the United States Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy released the surgeon general framework for mental health and well-being in the workplace.

0:29:52.3 Tim: Yeah, Junior, this was just a few days ago or a few weeks ago.

0:29:55.8 Junior: This is not a hit right off the press here, and he outlines, he talks about the foundational role that workplaces play in promoting health and well-being of workers and communities, so this is like this is up there, it's at the top, and I wanna read directly some of his comments because I think it's important to hear it directly here, healthy workforce is the foundation for thriving organizations and healthier communities. We have an opportunity in the power to make workplaces engines for mental health and welding, and the surgeon general framework shows us how we can start... It will require organizations to rethink, re-think how they protect workers from harm, foster a sense of connection among workers, show workers that they matter, make space for their lives outside work and support their growth. It will be worth it, because the benefits will accrue for workers and organizations alike... What fascinating comments. It really is. So he's asking us to rethink how we protect workers from harm, why would that be the invitation because historically, we've been confined to physical safety by our own doing, but he's saying, Let's rethink that it's broader than that. And he uses words like connection show workers that they matter.

0:31:24.3 Junior: We've never seen language like this coming from bodies like this before...

0:31:28.7 Tim: No, we never... Junior reminds me of professor Jeffrey for Stanford. I think he's been teaching there for like 42 years now in Organizational Behavior, and he'd been waving his hands and trying to get us to stop, and he's been saying... Hang on, everybody. Hey, pay attention. Your experience at work has a direct impact on your mental health and well-being, and he's been saying this for years, and he's been saying, rethink the workplace for years. We've got to do it. And we're finally paying attention. But it's taken a while. Let's take it a long time.

0:32:10.1 Junior: Yeah, I also wanna call out something from the same office, they say This, employers have a unique opportunity, not only to invest in the mental health and well-being in their work force, but also to strengthen their organization's success by doing so, so it's not an invitation to Hey, all I'll see Quill invest a little bit more money in developing worker mental health because it's good for them, it doesn't stop there, it's not like this is some sacrifice the organization makes in the best interest of their employees. It is reciprocal, you invest in this in improving mental health and well-being, it comes back to the organization through myriad forms, better engagement, better retention, better innovation, all of these things that we've been talking about across this series, so there are real bottom line impact that the organization can experience that our positive by investing in this area, if you look at just some of the attrition numbers alone, it's enough to get you going, so I think that... This is pretty fascinating. I would encourage all of you to look at the Surgeon General's framework. Well, I wanna call out a couple of pieces of it will link it in the show notes, but there are five pieces, five main pieces...

0:33:28.4 Tim: Well, it's actually six, if you take the pillar in the middle Junior... Exactly.

0:33:33.0 Junior: That's why I wanna call out. So that's a five around this main pillar, which is a worker voice and equity, what... You have an entire framework coming from the Surgeon General's office that centered on work or voice in equity, if you publish this in the 90s, everyone would laugh, you know one thought, work, our voice and equity was an important thing, and now you have protection from harm, including the psychological component, connection and community as another pillar that includes social support and belonging, it's amazing, so we're using different terms, are using different language, and it just highlights the shift, this tectonic shift that's happening.

0:34:16.0 Tim: Well, let's complete it though, Junior, so in addition to those pillars, we have work-life harmony, we have mattering at work, we have opportunity for growth, so think about those pillars, can you achieve those pillars unless the condition of psychological safety obtains in the organization... The answer is no. You can't get there. So psychological safety becomes the enabler to allow these things to happen, so it shows you the direct connection between psychological safety and mental health and well-being.

0:34:51.5 Junior: I love it. So let's strengthen... Not tie a little bit. Let's go into psychological safety, so these organizations are knocking at our door saying to some of them, we need some help in mental health and well-being, and we're coming to you for psychological safety, so... What does that mean to us? It means that many organizations are starting to make this link themselves, it's born out in the data, but they're seeing it, it's now unavoidable, it's inescapable, it's in controversial, and they're saying, Okay, we see that psychological safety lies at the heart of all of this, and as we've discussed before, it's the highest variable upstream that you can touch that has ripple effects that affect so many other things, so if there's one lever that you can pull, this is the lever that we help organizations pull, and I wanna start off this segment by talking about vulnerability because that has so much to do with psychological safety, it's right in the definition, a culture of rewarded vulnerability, so if the psychological safety is a culture of reward and vulnerability than what characterizes a psychologically unsafe environment, punished vulnerability, that's the hinge on which all of this moves so there are a couple of studies that will link in the show notes, some of them are Australian, and they point out that when individuals feel safe in their work environment, when they feel psychologically safe, they're more likely to report positive mental health outcomes, and these include a whole host of variables, increased job satisfaction, higher levels of well-being, lower levels of stress, lower levels of burnout, show all of these variables are affected by that one thing...

0:36:48.2 Junior: Safe in their work.

0:36:49.6 Tim: A Junior, I'll just add one thing here too. So let's go back to the definition of psychological safety that you gave a culture of rewarded vulnerability, but let's go back to the way that we define the construct for research purposes, psychological safety as a function of two things Number one, respect and number two permission. Psychological safety lives at the intersection of these two dimensions, it's very important to understand that because there are misconceptions also about What psychological safety is and what it is not, sometimes people will say psychological safety means that you can speak up... That's true, but that's just a very small part of psychological safety speaking up is simply one example of a vulnerable activity... That's what that is. Psychological safety means that you're in a culture where the prevailing condition will is such that your vulnerable acts and behaviors will be consistently rewarded. Speaking up is just one thing, there are many, many, many other acts of vulnerability for which you need to be rewarded, not punished, so it's important that we clarify that because once we understand the construct, what it really means, how you create it, then it makes... All the sense in the world that this is directly linked to mental health and well-being.

0:38:27.6 Junior: I appreciate you calling that out, and we can go so far as to say that those acts of vulnerability happen across the four stages. So for those of you who are brand new to the framework, how to encourage you to listen to that series will link it in the show notes. We go in depth across each of the four stages, so act of vulnerability can happen inside stage one, inclusion, safety, if we feel like we're a part of what's going on, we feel a sense of belonging, that can happen in stage to learn our safety. Asking a question, making a mistake, those are acts of vulnerability that happen there, then you have stage three contributor safety participating in achieving whatever our objective is, you're in the game, stage four challenge or safety... Challenging the way that things are done. So if you look at any act of vulnerability, it will fall into those four categories. We also have a resource, the ladder of vulnerability, that talks about those. We're gonna have a lot of links for you in the show notes this week, so go ahead, those are free resources to go ahead and download them if you're interested in learning more about those.

0:39:31.8 Junior: So here's another thing from that study, additionally, a positive work culture that emphasizes psychological safety can help to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues, making it more likely that individuals will seek support when they need it, so let's imagine a scenario for a second where someone in the organization is having a difficult time, let's say that they're on your team, they're having a difficult time, it could be one of any number of issues, as we can see, people are more stressed out than ever, and they're feeling pressure, stress, anxiety, all of these things that we mentioned at the beginning. So imagine that they're feeling that and they're feeling like it's affecting their work or whatever the case may be, and they raise their hand maybe metaphorically and say, Hey, I'm having a hard time with this or this or this, and it falls into mental health and well, we have an opportunity now. So that was an active vulnerability, we've identified it, and now we get to decide what to do, most of us are not this explicit as we go through the steps, but for argument's sake, I'm gonna lay them out, so we can punish that act of vulnerability by saying something like, now, you'll get over it.

0:40:54.7 Junior: In pass. Don't worry. It's not that big of a deal. I don't know why you're so worked up, we could say any number of things, and some are overtly negative and overtly punishing, and some are subtle, but there's that spectrum of punishing the vulnerability, and you can see that... This happens all the time. Sometimes we do it and we need to think about when we do it, alternatively, we can reward that act of vulnerability. Hey, thank you for bringing that up. You know what, I've been feeling a little bit of that myself. Tell me more. So feel the difference between those two responses, one is punished, one is rewarded, now let's go the next step further, what happens after that because the interaction is not over then, even if you think it is, So you punish the vulnerability, are they gonna come back and say, the same thing ever again? No, or at least it's less likely, and for most people, they will shut up and you will never hear about it again, does that mean that the problem goes away... No, it's there. And then maybe they inform some of the turnover issues that we've been talking about, or if they were the one or they experienced the rewarded vulnerability, they'll probably be more likely to come back and talk about it again, and they'll probably go address the issue and feel your support the secondary support of the institution, helping them do that, so I don't mean to belabor the point, but I think it's worth going into that and putting an example to it to help each of us see that this happens all the time, and it's a comment upon each of us to analyze our own behavior in the way that we treat these things, you know.

0:42:37.5 Tim: It's interesting Junior, just listening to you say that, is that most of the emotional scars that people bear are examples of punished vulnerability, certainly, we have a responsibility to develop resilience and to forgive people and to try to move forward so that we can flourish, that we can be happy, but it's interesting that so much of that is traceable to acts of punished vulnerability, so it just helps us understand how important the environment is, how important the prevailing norms are on a team, and what the response pattern is to act of vulnerability... It makes all the difference in the world. Just think back on your own life, do a little reflecting and you'll be able to identify examples where your vulnerability was either punished or rewarded, and it stays with you, you have vivid memory of those things, that's all testament to the importance of psychological safety in the workplace.

0:43:46.7 Junior: And whether you are a product of... Well, I guess we're all products of both rewarded and punished, vulnerability, go reward other people, you don't be jaded, go out and interact with others and reward their vulnerability, you'll be surprised at what happens, so... Okay, so we understand the connection now between psychological safety and mental health and well-being, but I wanna double-click on something that you talked about in the beginning to him, that there was a point in the past where we had enough information to link cause and effect we had enough information to say, Hey, some of these social issues, some of this cultural component of C, mental health and well-being, it affects psychological safety. We had the data, but we ignored it. Why? Why did we do that?

0:44:41.1 Tim: Well, we did. We turned a blind eye to it. And that goes back centuries. As I said, somewhere along the line, we crossed the threshold and we said people are not merely units of production, they are human beings, I don't know, that's a gradual shift in... There's no way to trace that. Point is that in the face of the knowledge and the data and the evidence and everything that we clearly knew, we turned a blind eye to it in the name of productivity and profit and we've exploited people, there's no question, we cannot claim innocence when it comes to this... So we are, as Robert Louis Stevenson said, we are sitting down to a banquet of our consequences, and it's not that the bank... What is coming? The banquet is here, we're sitting down to it, think about all of the examples, all of the statistics, all of the data, Junior that you shared in this episode, it's here, the banquet of our consequences is here, it has arrived. And we have a lot of restorative work to do, remedial work to do, we have a lot of healing to do. We have a lot of transformation to do at both had individual level and an organizational level, in an institutional level, the societal level at every level, we have work to do.

0:46:11.2 Tim: Why is it, for example, that our civic discourse has descended to such a low level, why is it that we are choosing not to be just respectful and kind, we know that we have to navigate and address very difficult issues, we know that we have differences, but we should be able to navigate those issues with respect and permission, which is the essence of psychological safety, we need to hold ourselves accountable to do that, that's very important.

0:46:46.2 Junior: And it's very important. And while there's a banquet today, there will be subsequent banquets of consequences, that's right, and we will determine whether those banquets are bitter or sweet based on the way that we behave today, so it's our invitation to all of us, ourselves included, to take a look at our behavior, and see if it's in line with everything that we talked about today, if our pattern is one of rewarding or if it's punishing vulnerability, it's going to be somewhere in between, we're all on that spectrum, but try and move the needle towards rewarding vulnerability. We hope that you can now see the strong tie between mental health and well-being and psychological safety, why demand for psychological safety is increasing so much. And as we said in the beginning, if you wanna go back and look at those other episodes, we would invite you to do so. And with that, we'll say thank you everyone for your time and attention, we appreciate your listenership, we know that there's a lot out there to listen to, and we appreciate your decision to spend some time with us and be part of this conversation with us, and we're thankful for what you do, the work you do in the world.

0:47:56.8 Junior: And we're here to support you. You can always reach out to us at leader factor dot com, and as always, we appreciate your likes, your reviews, and your shares. The links to everything we talk about today will be in the show notes. We hope to see you next episode. Take care.

0:48:14.0 Producer: Hey culture by design listeners, you made it to the end of today's episode. Thank you again for listening and for making culture something that you do by design and not by default. If you've enjoyed today's episode please be so kind to leave us a review it helps us reach a wider audience and accomplish our mission of influencing the world for good at scale today's episode show notes and other relevant resources related to today's topic can be found at leader factor dot com resources and with that we'll see you next episode.

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