Building ‘safety’ in teams

Teams need ‘safety’ in order to work well. But how do you create it?

Psychological safety means that team members feel respected and believe they will be treated fairly by others. When teams have high levels of psychological safety, all team members feel comfortable taking risks, sharing information, challenging ideas and trying new things.

Here are three ways to build psychological safety in your team.

1. Focus on relationship building

Don’t wait until conflict sparks before paying attention to team relationships. Instead, set aside regular times to connect with each other. Do this by establishing the following meeting schedule:

  • Annually: team planning/strategy day
  • Quarterly: half-day progress review
  • Monthly: team meeting
  • Fortnightly: one-on-one meetings between manager and team members

2. Learn together

Team learning is different to individual learning. It involves sharing opinions and perceptions. By learning with each other, the members of your team will learn about each other. This makes it easier to respect and trust each other. Ways to learn as a team include:

  • Attending a training course together
  • Reading and discussing a business article once a month
  • Creating ‘lessons learned’ files after completing projects
  • Setting up mentoring and coaching programs in your workplace

3. Challenge unsafe behaviour

Speak up when you see or hear things that undermine psychological safety. In particular, be alert for bullying, nasty jokes and gossip. These are toxic behaviours which destroy psychological safety. If they’re happening on your team, it is time to set team norms for communication. See page three for tips on how to do this.

Book one of our team building experts to run a session for your team. Contact us now.