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Developing a psychologically safe workplace

Having an environment where employees can safely speak up might seem the obvious key to a healthy and high performing workplace. But there are many behaviours that can undermine psychological safety and inclusion. They can be as simple as a leader consistently dominating airtime in a meeting or diminishing the experiences of others.

Then there are the more obvious signs such as punishing people for mistakes or for challenging the leader’s decision. Or worse, bullying and harassment.

In safe team environments, vulnerability is rewarded. Leaders communicate regularly, normalise questions, encourage opposing views, check in on where people might need support, validate the experiences of others, and support the needs of team members from under-represented groups who may have prior experience of not being listened to.

Good leaders even expect mistakes and failures, says Harvard Professor Amy Edmondson in her new book published this month.

We’ve been educating hundreds of leaders this year on ways they can develop safe and inclusive team cultures, drawing on the work of Amy Edmondson, Dr Timothy Clark and other global leaders in the field. For some clients, we’ve had the opportunity to follow up the workshop with one-on-one coaching for all leaders. This is a great way to embed the learning.

Our workshop is particularly helpful if you recognise some of these situations:

  • Team members are reluctant to share their perspectives, or new ideas, in meetings.
  • Team members from under-represented groups are less likely to speak up.
  • People are aware of micro-aggressions (subtle acts of exclusion) but rarely speak up about them.
  • Mistakes aren’t handled well.

We deliver this workshop in an interactive format online (90 mins) or in-person (two hours). Please get in touch with us at if you’d like to have a conversation.

About Dr Katie Spearritt

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