Psychological Safety is defined as a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes. It's when bringing who you are to the table feels OK to do. The term was brought to popularity by Amy Edmondson, who further described it by saying, “Psychological Safety is a climate in which one feels one can be candid. It's a place where interpersonal risks feel doable, interpersonal risks, like speaking up with questions and concerns and half-baked ideas and even mistakes.”
In 2012, Google initiated an internal research project code-named, Project Aristotle, to determine why some teams perform better than others. Their research found that what really mattered on effective teams was less about who was on the team, and more about how the team worked together. They identified Psychological Safety as the most important attribute for building a strong team.
Many People of Colour struggle with how much of themselves they can bring into work. Whether it’s feeling you need to change your name, switch up your hairstyle or changing your pattern of speech. This practice is known as Code-Switching, which is shifting the languages you use or the way you express yourself in conversations. In reality, it extends far beyond just language. It is the tone of voice, body language, or when to even open your mouth. It's the clothes, the hair, the food, the name. We alter our true selves to make others more comfortable. This is not by choice, this has just been the cost to play the game.
Code switching is the result of having no Psychological Safety.
When you are not showing up fully at work, you are not being your best self. When significant parts of your cognitive processing is dedicated to policing your own words and actions, that is energy that is taken away from what you are there to do in the first place.
So, How Safe Do You Actually Feel?
We have built a free assessment that can tell you just that. Before changes can be made, it is important to take stock of where you are at right now, so we can map out where you are trying to go.