Safety–management / leadership

What Trust Feels Like.Safety–management / leadership

I teach leadership for a global corporation that starts each day with a “Safety Moment.” The exercise is designed to decrease physical accidents. When I try to teach these leaders to engage in conversations that might trigger emotions and prompt opinions contrary to their own, they claim a lack of time and value. Leaders often don’t connect the need for psychological safety to physical safety.

Dr. Amy Edmondson, a Harvard business professor, says. “Psychological safety describes the individuals’ perceptions about the consequences of interpersonal risk in their work environment. It consists of taken-for-granted beliefs about how others will respond when one puts oneself on the line, such as by asking a question, seeking feedback, reporting a mistake, or proposing a new idea.”

Since the brain’s primary purpose is to protect, it will filter what people say or stop them from speaking if there is any indication—real or not—that they will be embarrassed or hurt. This is an automatic response that happens before logic can assess the situation. Most people will justify their silence or negative reactions.

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