Psychological safety occurs when people feel safe within a group, allowing them to speak up and contribute without fear of judgement or criticism. It is the environment that is created collectively by all in the group, resulting in the feeling of belonging and connection and in turn creating trust.
Psychological safety occurs when there is effective communication between a group of people. Great communication is a key factor for success in all facets of one’s personal and professional lives and it is an important factor in creating Psychological Safety. On the other hand, poor communication leads to stress, anxiety, fatigue and uncertainty and often erodes trust. The first step in creating a safe space for your team (direct reports, employees) or other individuals in your workplace is to establish effective communication skills.
Our three-step approach is a simple framework that helps frame–up your communication to get the best out of the individual and the conversation. Using this framework will allow you to have consistently great communication that you can apply across all situations, conversations and people. It will allow you to show vulnerability, build trust and make others feel supported.
The three steps are:
1. Humanise your language
Imagine you’re speaking to a family member or friend who has come to you to talk through a difficult situation. How do you speak to them? What words do you use? What tone of voice are you using? Your team is no different, it is important to speak to your team members the way you would speak to your friends and family with the same level of care, concern and empathy.
2. Normalise the emotions
A single situation can result in a myriad of emotions for a lot of different people. It doesn’t matter how a team member is feeling as an individual or the collective feeling from your team, as a leader, you should work to normalise their emotions. Acknowledging and recognising their emotions and telling them that it is okay to be feeling however they’re feeling shows empathy and care and will go a long way with your team members. It lets them know that you understand and support them, no matter their current emotional state.
3. Personalise the message
Whilst there may be overarching themes and messages from the organisation, it is crucial to find specific ways to make it unique for everyone. Each person is different and responds differently to new stimuli. Make sure that you have tweaked the overall message to make the most sense for the individual you are speaking to in that moment.
This is the framework we have developed to be mindful of, before any type of conversation you’re about to have. It will ensure you are in the right frame of mind to accurately and effectively have a meaningful, worthwhile conversation. In using these three simple frame-up techniques for your conversations you will see an increase in team connection, deepen your relationships and create the environment for psychological safety within your team.
Watch Corporate Edge’s Director, John Colbert talk through the Humanise, Normalise, Personalise framework here.