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Phycological Safety in the Work Place
I’ve been hearing one thing over and over from people in all industries: Employees aren’t staying with companies, and if they are, they are doing the bare minimum at their jobs. When organizations look at the problem with employees as being a lack of motivation, the solutions are obviously going to be geared toward how they can bring back some of that motivation. Unfortunately, this kind of approach only hits on a superficial issue and doesn’t get toward the root cause; it’s merely a band-aid. Lack of motivation is a symptom of the larger, underlying issue.
Individual workers wind up feeling unmotivated for a multitude of reasons. Some feel that way because they don’t believe they are valued, or that their boss(es) believe they have potential to grow within their position or company. Others simply don’t feel comfortable or safe in their work environment, as they’ve been continually put in situations with high targets to hit and/or given ultimatums. However, all of these reasons do signal one thing: that psychological safety has not been fostered strong enough within their organization to address these problems.
“Wait, what is psychological safety?” Put simply, Psychological safety is a deeper level of trust.
On the most basic level of trust, I can say “I trust you to accomplish ____ task(s).” Having psychological safety, though, is the level in which workers are comfortable enough within their work environment to take interpersonal risks, such as voicing their opinions, trying a new approach, offering a suggestion or perspective, speaking up about a concern… and, here’s the kicker, they don’t have fear of being reprimanded or seen as less valuable for doing so. So, even if the thought, idea or approach doesn’t work or isn’t used, workers are in fact valued more for sharing their thought, concern, opinion, or approach in the first place.
There are plenty of companies out there that do a great job of building that kind of environment. Some of them do it without even realizing that that’s what they’re doing! However, so many more companies aren’t as familiar as they can be with this concept.
I have led various workshops on this exact subject over the last few months, and the response I’ve gotten has been overwhelmingly positive. I have been able to assess the level of psychological safety of an organization, coached and trained leaders (and their teams) how to cultivate it within your working environment regardless if it’s in-person or hybrid/remote, and how to spot underlying toxic behaviors in a culture. All of these shape and sharpen a culture to be more dynamic, healthy and bulletproof.
And… this is just the tip of the iceberg, and there’s so much more to explore in this subject. I’m hopeful that this topic will continue to expand and be implemented throughout the workforce. We are just getting started with reaping its value. If you want to know more about anything I’ve just talked about, feel free to contact us at https://executiveperformanceinstituteforcoaching.com/contact/.
Executive Coach, Master Trainer and Keynote Speaker
Jenna Dillon works with high-performing individuals and top-tier organizations, helping accomplished and aspiring leaders achieve greater levels of fulfillment and success in their lives, careers, within their organizational cultures, and as industry influencers.
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