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The Benefits of Psychological Safety at Work

Whether taking risks, trying something new, speaking up and sharing our opinions, or providing feedback, we all want and deserve to feel safe in our workplace. 



With McKinsey & Company sharing that psychological safety starts at the very top of the organisation, it’s important for leaders to understand what psychological safety looks like at work and the benefits that it offers organisations and their people. 


To support you, we provide insight into these key points in this blog. 


What Does Psychological Safety at Work Look Like? 

Research shared by McKinsey & Company highlights that only 26% of leaders currently create psychological safety for their teams. This begs the question “Do leaders know what psychological safety at work looks like?”.  

Without understanding what psychological safety is and what it looks like, it can be challenging for leaders to take the steps required to create it. 

Person giving a presentation at work

In a previous blog that shared 5 ways to develop psychological safety at work, we offered insight into what psychological safety at work looks like.  

To determine whether your workplace is considered psychologically safe, here are some tell-tale signs to look out for. 

  1. Your organisation and people communicate openly with one another. Employees freely share their ideas, concerns, and feedback without fear of retribution or judgement.  

  2. Each person feels heard in the workplace. Team members actively listen to each other and demonstrate empathy and understanding in their interactions.  

  3. Your people can disagree with each other, without it turning into conflict: There's a culture where disagreements are handled respectfully, with a focus on understanding differing perspectives rather than personal attacks.  

  4. Your people feel empowered and able to take risks: Employees feel comfortable taking calculated risks and proposing innovative solutions without the fear of failure or punishment.  

  5. Your leaders provide support to employees: Leaders encourage and support employees, provide constructive feedback, and acknowledge efforts and contributions.  

  6. Your people aren’t afraid to admit to making mistakes: Individuals are willing to admit mistakes and take responsibility for them without fear of blame or repercussion.  

  7. Your organisation has diverse opinions: The workplace values diversity of thought and actively seeks input from individuals with different backgrounds and experiences.  

  8. Collaboration is high: Team members readily collaborate and support each other's efforts, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared goals.  

  9. Your people continue to take advantage of personal development opportunities: Employees feel supported in their personal and professional growth, with opportunities for learning and development.  

  10. Your organisation has a low turnover rate: High levels of psychological safety are often associated with lower turnover rates and absenteeism, as employees feel more satisfied and engaged in their work. 


The Benefits of Psychological Safety 

When it comes to the benefits of psychological safety in the workplace, it’s clear from the above that organisations that are considered psychologically safe are happier, healthier, more collaborative, and supportive. 

Two women happy at work

But that’s not all.  

Research shows that: 

CEO Zoé Lewis shares that some other benefits of psychological safety include improved team performance, employee satisfaction, better decision-making and problem-solving, and increased innovation and creativity.  

Find out more about these below. 

  1. Improved team performance. Psychological safety fosters an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas, asking questions, and challenging the status quo.  This leads to increased collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving, ultimately enhancing team performance and productivity. 

  2. Enhanced employee engagement and satisfaction. When employees feel psychologically safe in their workplace, they are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and commitment to their work. This leads to higher levels of engagement, motivation, and job satisfaction, resulting in lower turnover rates and higher retention of top talent. 

  3. Better decision-making and problem-solving. Psychological safety encourages open and honest communication amongst team members, allowing for more effective decision-making and problem-solving processes. When individuals feel free to express their opinions and concerns without fear of judgement or reprisal, it leads to more robust discussions and better outcomes.  

  4. Increased innovation and creativity. When employees feel safe to share their ideas and opinions without fear of criticism or ridicule, they are more likely to take risks and think outside the box, leading to increased innovation and creativity. 

  5. Reduced turnover. Organisations with a culture of psychological safety experience lower turnover rates as employees are more likely to feel valued, respected, and supported, leading to increased loyalty and retention. 

  6. Improved communication and collaboration. Psychological safety encourages open and honest communication, which fosters stronger relationships amongst team members and promotes collaboration across departments and hierarchical levels.

  7. Enhanced learning and development. In psychologically safe environments, employees are more willing to admit their mistakes, seek feedback, and engage in continuous learning and development without the fear of being penalised or judged. 

  8. Better performance and productivity. Research has shown that teams with high psychological safety outperform those with low psychological safety in terms of performance and productivity. When employees feel safe to take risks and express themselves authentically, they are more motivated to achieve their goals. 

  9. Healthier work environment. Psychological safety contributes to a healthier work environment by reducing stress, anxiety, and burnout. When employees feel supported and respected, they are less likely to experience negative health outcomes associated with workplace stress. 

  10. Heightened sense of belonging. The ripple effects of psychological safety are profound. As team members feel supported and valued, they become more engaged and committed to the collective goals of the team. This heightened sense of belonging and purpose translates into heightened collaboration and synergy among team members, resulting in enhanced team performance and productivity. 

Psychological safety in a team

How Can Executive Coaching Help? 

Executive coaching can be instrumental in fostering psychological safety within leaders and organisations. Here’s how: 

Building Self-Awareness: Executive coaches help leaders develop a deep understanding of their own strengths, weaknesses, biases, and communication styles. This self-awareness allows leaders to recognise how their behaviours and decisions impact the psychological safety of their teams. 

Empowering Vulnerability: Through one-on-one coaching sessions, leaders can explore their vulnerabilities in a safe and confidential environment. By embracing vulnerability themselves, leaders set an example for their teams, encouraging open communication and trust. 

Improving Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential for creating psychological safety. Coaches work with leaders to enhance their communication skills, teaching them to listen actively, provide constructive feedback, and communicate expectations clearly, all of which contribute to an environment where team members feel valued and understood. 


Promoting Inclusive Leadership: Executive coaches help leaders understand the importance of inclusivity and diversity within their teams. By recognising and valuing diverse perspectives, leaders can create an environment where all team members feel respected and included, thus enhancing psychological safety. 


Encouraging a Growth Mindset: Coaches encourage leaders to adopt a growth mindset, embracing challenges and seeing failures as opportunities for learning and improvement. When leaders model this mindset, it creates a culture where team members feel safe to take risks, share ideas, and innovate without fear of judgement. 


Addressing Conflict Constructively: Conflict is inevitable in any organisation, but how it's managed can either strengthen or weaken psychological safety. Coaches help leaders develop conflict resolution skills, teaching them to address conflicts openly, respectfully, and constructively, which fosters trust and collaboration amongst team members. 


Creating a Supportive Environment: Executive coaches support leaders in creating an environment where team members feel supported and valued. This involves recognising and celebrating achievements, providing opportunities for professional growth, and offering support during challenging times, all of which contribute to a sense of belonging and psychological safety. 


Contact Us Today 

At The Leadership Coaches, our executive coaching services have been developed with you, your leaders, and your organisation in mind.  

No matter where people are in the executive journey, at some point, most will partner with an executive coach; a sounding board, confidante, and someone with whom they can be challenged, supported, and held to account.  


Each leader has their own journey, their own strengths and challenges; the right match with the ideal executive coach finds them in an extraordinary position to develop themselves to go beyond their previous leadership capabilities.  


Here at The Leadership Coaches, our executive coaches have been hand-picked by an exceptionally fussy leader, and our coach matching is done with precision through no-obligation chemistry calls to ensure the match is successful for the leader to have long-term coaching objective success.  


We work with leaders in national and international organisations. Whether you are the person seeking coaching in the business or the solution finder for your wider business coaching needs, we are happy to chat more with you about how executive coaching can help you and your business thrive. 


Contact us today by calling 03450 950 480 or email to arrange a no-obligation consultation to discover how we can support you. 


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