Mental safety at the workplace is the belief that you won’t be punished/humiliated for speaking up your ideas, questions, concerns.

When employees don’t feel safe/comfortable to start conversations about things that aren’t working well, the organization is losing opportunities, cannot increase performance, long-term retention of talented employees is not possible.

Here are some ideas about how to create a mentally safe workplace

Make it a priority:

  • Discuss its importance in team meetings and adopt yourself the behaviours you want to see in others

Facilitate everyone speaking up

  • Show curiosity, empathy and encourage truth-telling.
  • Be open-minded, empathetic, a leader-coach, when someone is say something challenging the status quo. This means listening without judgement, accepting every idea or opinion, discussing with a positive and constructive approach.

Build a culture of learning from mistakes

  • Mistakes aren’t bad, they are opportunities to do better in the future. It’s better to fail or make a mistake then to do nothing.
  • Include in your team meetings a learning from failure moment and start sharing your own experiences of learning from your mistakes.

Build space to listen to new ideas and perspectives from the team members

  • In other words encourage brainstorming.
  • Include in your team’s meetings presentations of out of the box ideas moments
  • Implement a system that encourages your team members to constantly generate them

Don’t run from conflict

  • Conflict and distress are always a good opportunity to learn and do better.
  • Encourage debate in conflict solving and make clear norms for:
    • how to communicate concerns about things that aren’t working
    • how can be shared with colleagues divergent opinions
    • conflict solving

How do you manage your work environment? What do you do to build a safe workplace?