A new book by a social scientist comes to act as the first practical guide for leaders to build psychological safety in their organizations, creating an environment where employees feel included and encouraged to contribute their best ideas.
Written by Dr. Timothy R. Clark, founder and CEO of global leadership training organization LeaderFactor, the book argues that building psychological safety of employees is vastly linked with the sense of free learning and, accordingly, that the fear of being embarrassed, marginalized or punished in some way blocks learning, collaboration and creativity.
In this way, ‘The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation’ comes to question the prevailing coaching model over the centuries, which is didactic, paternalistic and decelerates people’s personal development.
As explained, when leaders cultivate psychological safety, teams and organizations progress through four successive stages, which are analyzed in detail, taking the reader in an exciting scientific mix of psychology, philosophy, social science, and real-life examples:
- Inclusion Safety: This is connected with the human need to belong and gain membership. If people in a team are deprived this basic acceptance, they are discouraged from interacting with other members out of fear of rejection.
- Learner Safety: Everyone has, in some time, been afraid to raise their hand to ask a question in a group for fear of feeling dumb. ‘Safe to learn’ means being able to engage in all stages of the learning process without feeling embarrassed. But when we create learner safety for others, not only we encourage learning, but we also make others more willing to learn.
- Contributor Safety: This stage has to do with the basic human need to contribute. The more we contribute, the more confidence we develop. So when leaders are able to create contributor safety for others, they empower them with competence and encouragement in exchange for effort.
- Challenger Safety: This is the highest level of psychological safety, relating to the need of people to make things better. Challenger Safety allows people to challenge the status quo without fear of retaliation, thus paving the way to change and innovation.
Overall, the book outlines a must-have, not only for business leaders seeking to transform the way they engage with people -especially in a post-pandemic world-, but also for team members wishing to boost their performance, as well as every individual seeking a breakthrough in every relationship of their lives.