The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety™

Stage 1: Inclusion Safety

Inclusion safety satisfies the basic human need to connect and belong. Whether at work, school, home, or in other social settings, everyone wants to be accepted. In fact, the need to be accepted precedes the need to be heard.

diverse team at work

Diversity isn’t inclusion.

Most organizations that try to make their teams diverse realize that diversity alone doesn’t make those teams inclusive.

Inclusion safety unlocks the power of diversity by creating sanctuaries where team members feel safe to be their authentic selves when it matters most.

They’ll feel safe to be themselves because they’ll know that you value their unique perspective, experiences, beliefs, values, and goals.

Inclusion safety is a human right.

As the basic glue of human society, inclusion safety offers the comforting assurance that you matter. Everyone deserves to be included, regardless of demographics, differences, or disagreements, because inclusion isn’t earned, it’s owed.

How do I help others feel included?

Try these eight things to introduce inclusion safety into your organization’s culture:

Avoid Comparisons and Competitions

When we compare and compete with each other, we lose the ability to connect. Focus your efforts on making meaningful connections with your team members. Celebrate their strengths.

Conduct Hop On, Hop Off Tours

Formally assign a member of your team to be your new team member’s personal guide. Have the guide conduct social tours during the first week to accelerate relationship-building.

Meet a Person in Their Physical Space

Don’t make someone else come to you. Instead, physically meet them where they are. This sends a clear message that you value their time and input.

Ask Twice as Much as You Tell

You’ll become more inclusive when you realize that it’s really not about you. Master the art of asking questions. Be curious about others. Ask twice as much as you tell.

Listen and Pause

Do you listen with the intent to understand or respond? Being an active listener is being an inclusive listener. Focus on their perspective, not on what you can contribute to the conversation.

Physically Face People

Active inclusion is deliberate inclusion. When you face the people you’re interacting with, it signals that you’re interested and invested in them.

Introduce Yourself at the First Opportunity

One of the easiest ways to show someone that they belong is to express genuine interest in who they are. Be proactive. Introduce yourself to those who are new, or those you don’t know yet.

Learn How to Pronounce Names

When a new person joins the team, learn their name immediately. If you don’t know how to pronounce it, ask. Even if it’s difficult for you to pronounce, don’t ask for an alternative name to use.

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