The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety™

Defining the path to inclusion and innovation.


The 4

Stages of



Psychological safety is a sense of belonging to a team with the opportunity to interact with its members and contribute to its purpose without fear of being punished or feeling rejected. 


The most important organizational development of the 21st century is the discovery that psychological safety is the foundation of team performance. It drives inclusion, learning, contribution, and innovation.

Why do Google’s Project Aristotle and other studies point to psychological safety as the key to high performance? When psychological safety is low, fear triggers the self-censoring instinct and people divert productive energy into risk management, self-preservation, and pain avoidance. When psychological safety is high, people engage, release their discretionary efforts, and create value.

The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety™ Framework

Psychological safety progresses through four stages as a function of two primary variables:

  • Respect

  • Permission to participate

Learning Objectives

  1. Benchmark the team’s current level of psychological safety against the 4 stages framework.

  2. Identify and remove personal and organizational factors that trigger the self-censoring instinct and shut down learning and performance.

  3. Transform the team’s capacity to execute and innovate based inclusion, learning agility, and high psychological safety.


​​Managers and individual contributors at all levels, including both intact and cross-functional teams.

Delivery Options

  • Full-day onsite workshop

  • A 90-minute virtual session for distributed employees





•  The what and why of psychological safety

•  The 4 stages roadmap

•  Assessing the current stage of psychological safety

•  Defining the path to challenger safety

Stage 1: Inclusion Safety

•  Crossing the inclusion threshold: Worth before worthiness

•  Species-based acceptance

•  Removing artifacts and soothing theories of superiority

•  Removing harmful bias and willful blindness

•  Behaving until you believe

Stage 2: Learner Safety

•  The risks of learning

•  Exchanging encouragement for engagement

•  Disconnecting fear from mistakes and failure

•  Connecting the intellectual and the emotional

•  Creating learning agility

Stage 3: Contributor Safety

•  The innate need to perform

•  Execution & innovation

•  Exchanging autonomy for results

•  The three levels of accountability

•  The ask-to-tell coaching continuum

•  Thinking beyond your role

Stage 4: Challenger Safety

•  Crossing the innovation threshold

•  Exchanging candor for cover

•  The social origins of innovation

•  Challenging the status quo

•  Reacting positively to dissent & reducing the risk of ridicule

•  Becoming agnostic to title, position, and authority

4 Stages Roadmap Presentations

•  Defining concrete actions and accountability

•  Table presentations


Sample Content

4 Stages Cover.png

The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety Summary


  • Smart Card deck of key concepts, tools, and actions

  • 4 Stages of Psychological Safety Team Assessment

  • 4 Stages of Psychological Safety Roadmap

  • Copy of the book, The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety by Timothy R. Clark, published by Berrett-Koehler


  • Full-day workshop: Min. 10/max. 40 participants

  • 90-minute virtual session: Min. 8/max. 15 participants


Pricing is based on a per participant license plus facilitation

Are you ready for this training?

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© 2021 by Leaderfactor LLC

Alpine UT 84004