Psychological Safety — What It Is, What It Isn’t, Why Does It Matter and How To Measure It? (Part I) — Fit To Lead

Psychological safety is the bedrock of a successful culture; it’s the engine that facilitates engagement, innovation, learning and productivity. Take the short quiz to see how your team is doing.

For many years I worked in a psychologically unsafe environment. I was unhappy at work and happy outside work. I didn’t pay much attention to it because I was focused on making money and we were pretty successful (or so I thought).

  • Inauthentic — not bringing my whole self to work and hiding a big part of myself
  • Scared to voice my opinions and thoughts — only voicing my thoughts when they were fully formed/100% perfect
  • Opting for silence — being unable to speak up when I didn’t agree with something
  • Afraid to admit mistakes — fearful of being judged and ridiculed
  • Not showing vulnerability — belief that vulnerability would be seen as weakness

What is psychological safety?

As humans we are continually searching for safety. Our foraging ancestors required belonging and connection to feel safe and to actually be safe. Safety is a fundamental need as expressed by Maslow and his hierarchy of needs framework.

Why does psychological safety matter in a team?

Choosing to build psychological safety, shows an ambition to build a successful and transformational company. Psychological safety will give you a competitive advantage.

Take this short quiz to measure your psychological safety

Before you start diving into how to improve psychological safety within your team or company, it’s worth assessing the level of psychological safety to discover what’s really going on.

Great culture starts with psychological safety

Culture eats strategy for breakfast is the commonly heard saying. I don’t subscribe to that as I think strategy is equally as important as culture. You should eat strategy and culture in a balanced granola mix to maximize the probability of success.



Founder CEO Coach to Scale Up Leaders at

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