psychological safety - setting the stage

Reframing failure

It’s important to frame work in ways that support people in actually doing the work.  In a complex system with high stakes and high workloads, errors will occur, failures will happen and the list of responsibilities may be longer than the hours in the day.  It’s wise to simply acknowledge this as a given. This helps to shift the belief that a person isn’t competent when a plate is too full, or a proposal doesn’t go as planned.  This shift frees up energy to learn, be strategic and focused.

Examples:

“Early, often, ugly. It's O.K. It doesn't have to be perfect because then I can course-correct much, much faster.”

“Failure is not a bug of learning, it's a feature,”

Clarifying the need for voice

When people don’t speak up, crucial input is lost. When leaders frame the importance of voice --  people are more likely to speak up -- thereby overcoming the inherent asymmetry of voice and silence.  

Examples:

“We need to hear from each and every of you to reach our goals”.

Motivating efforts

Emphasizing a sense of purpose is another key element of setting the stage for psychological safety. Motivating people by articulating a compelling purpose is a well-established leadership task. Leaders who remind people of why what they do matters – for customers, for the world – help create the energy that carries them through challenging moments.

Examples:

“One for all and all for one”

“Personal growth is as important as profit. Each employee becoming a better person matters to us”