Enabling Psychological Safety within your Organisation

19 December 2022

UNLOQ core team

Psychological safety is rarely a term used within the corporate world; however this is the most relevant belief that one must enable in order to create a workspace where no one will be humiliated or dismissed for speaking up about mistakes, questions, concerns and/or ideas.

Psychological safety is a shared belief held by members within an organisation that states anyone who belongs to the team will not be embarrassed, rejected or punished for speaking up.

Macarena Vergara, Head of L&D for the Humanitarian and Development sector here at UNLOQ defines it as the space created within a team, or any organisation, where people feel free to be themselves, where they are entitled to express their truth, without there being any punishment, or judgement coming their way. So, there’s a level of trust and a level of non-violence, in the communication which enables people’s brains not to be threatened by any potential punishment in the environment.

On the other hand, Camila Valenzuela, Coach, Organisational Psychologist & UNLOQ associate, adds that it’s also having the free and trustworthy space to express yourself, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it must be a nice place. It’s a space where we can all be different, and all the voices are equally respected.

This does not mean it will not bring conflict, but to manage it we need some tools to deliver this conflict in a constructive way for the team, and to acknowledge our differences into a common outcome.

It’s an important topic to approach as we are in these huge transitions of understanding the culture at the workspace, in this hybrid workspace and in this technological disruption, that at some points creates a lot of separation. However, in order to create a high-performance team a psychological safety space must be enabled.

When we say it does not need to be a ‘nice space’ we refer to it being a customised space, so it must be as comfortable or as uncomfortable as you and your team want it to be. It must be a conscious and viable space for all these behaviours to flourish so they can embody the openness and awareness there should be within the team.

 Psychological safety is important especially in the digital era because, as mentiones before, to achieve high performing and effective teams, you need to develop a level of trust as a precursor to then having commitment, accountability, achieving results, you must work on creating that layer, because otherwise, the communication and the trust will fail which can lead to have these behaviours fall into toxicity.

According to Macarena Vergara, this space is one where you can have different voices, where you can truly create conditions for innovation. Camila adds, this requires the sense of learning from failure and reframing the meaning we have of failure and transforming it to be a space of learning instead.

This safe space enabled within the organisation will also increase the willingness of the team to make risks based on this conflict and to create possibilities that we may have missed when we were solely focused on our voice or our own frame for this specific view. By reframing it all-together we can get to experience different perspectives all being respected allowing the space for every team member to be vulnerable enough to innovate and learn from this failure and having this radical candour to have each other’s back in this process.

When you want to have a high-performance team, that’s not just in one shot, you need to iterate and iterate and iterate until the team gets synchronised in you all know. Asking questions such as: What are your talents? What do you bring, what’s the light you are bringing into this space, and the light you brought to a previous team is not the same that you could bring to this one because it’s a self-discovery space too.

This means this space is a continuous learning process where you can elevate and create a cohesive psychological safety environment.

How can you create a psychologically safe space as a leader?

You must first begin with yourself, there’s an angle around self-awareness which allows you to understand when you are showing up for your team with the integrity they deserve or the other way around. When we start leadership programs here at UNLOQ we start with self, we don’t dive into leadership purposes right away because we believe it’s an integral part of the human transformation to understand what it is you truly need to allow space for that development to happen and co-create the psychologically safe space.

Are you enabling a psychologically safe space in your organisation?

Learn more on how we UNLOQ these behaviours through our different human-centric, science-based, technology enhances and scalable solutions.

Continue to professionalize and optimize

In addition to the continued development of our UNLOQ Campus coaching platform, we also accelerated the ISO 27001 certification process. This process had already started in 2019 and was aimed at improving our internal processes and increasing the security of customer information. Especially at a time when more and more work is done online and remotely, it is a challenge to ensure maximum confidentiality of information. Obtaining the ISO certificate is not easy; as an organization you have to comply with no less than 166 standards. Thanks to a great team effort, we are happy to share the good news that we have now successfully passed the audit! This makes us one of the few (international) L&D organizations with an ISO-27001 certification.