Is Psychological Safety just a buzzword? Why a Masterclass helps the discussion.

Episode 066

Apr 10, 2024

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Psychological Safety - Masterclass

Is "psychological safety" merely a trendy term, or does it hold genuine value? That's the question on many people's minds these days. Recently, we hosted a masterclass on this very topic.

Let's be honest; these masterclass sessions are short—just an hour long. But they serve a purpose: to pique curiosity. Based on the feedback we've received, it seems they're doing just that.

But why focus on psychological safety?

Well, for starters, it's a hot topic. While it's been around for a while, it's gaining momentum globally. We see it as a cornerstone of a healthy organisational culture prioritising safety and well-being.

But who benefits from understanding psychological safety?

The answer: pretty much everyone. Whether you're a team leader aiming to foster belonging and openness or a frontline worker wanting to feel secure and valued - psychological safety matters.

It's about creating a culture where everyone feels heard and supported without getting bogged down in jargon or buzzwords.

So, is "psychological safety" just another buzzword? Perhaps. But what really matters is its impact on our daily lives. And that's something worth exploring in our masterclass.

You are looking to improve your team's sense of belonging

a. Why does belonging matter in a team?

Belonging is key. Without it, people may just go through the motions at work. Feeling part of the team boosts happiness and performance. Everyone wants to feel valued, right?

But belonging shouldn't be something you have to earn. It's something we all deserve from the start. So, how do we ensure everyone feels valued from day one? It's not easy.

b. How can leaders make everyone feel they belong?

It's not easy for leaders. 

We are currently focusing on leadership because it is crucial to everything in an organisation. Maya Angelou said, ' People will always remember how you make them feel. They won't remember what you said.'

It's about how we make people feel included. So, as leaders, are we approachable? Do we listen to others? Do we ensure everyone's included?

Or, if we see people aren't being included, what do we do to bring the team together to celebrate diverse views, celebrate the things we do differently, and help everyone feel valued and that their contribution matters?

c. Steps to make the team bond stronger?

How do we strengthen the bond within our team? It's not just up to the leader, but they set the example. Keeping communication open is crucial. Beyond that, implementing buddy systems, mentorships, and encouraging collaboration on projects are effective. Social events and team outings also play a role in fostering team spirit.

Crew development programs have been a longstanding practice in instilling a sense of belonging. Simple acts like chatting during coffee breaks or having one-on-one sessions matter. Establishing team rituals, whether playing music together or debriefing over tea, helps create that sense of belonging.

You want people to speak up and share their safety observations

a. Why share safety observations? 

Sharing safety observations is crucial for preventing accidents and improving overall safety practices within the team. It fosters a learning and continuous improvement culture, encouraging accountability and responsibility among team members. By openly communicating potential hazards and risks, the team can address issues promptly and work together to maintain a safe working environment.

b. How do we get everyone to share about safety? 

To encourage everyone to share about safety, create a blame-free environment where individuals feel safe to speak up. Use anonymous reporting systems, hold regular safety discussions, and express gratitude to those who contribute ideas for improving safety. This approach fosters a culture of trust and collaboration, promoting active participation in enhancing safety practices within the team.

c. What stops people from sharing, and how can we fix it?

Without a sense of belonging and feeling that contributions are valued, individuals may not see the point in speaking up. However, when teams feel safe and connected, they're more likely to share safety observations and have meaningful conversations about improvement. This fosters a culture where everyone feels comfortable expressing concerns and contributing to improving things rather than staying silent due to fear of blame or repercussions.

You are looking to improve team cohesion

a. What makes a team united?

A united team is built on effective communication, shared goals, and a positive atmosphere where laughter is welcomed. When team members feel comfortable speaking up and asking for help, it fosters trust and respect among colleagues [listen in to hear about the 'Mama Kaz' story].

b. How can unity be improved?

Gathering places like the tea shack or smoke room provide team bonding and camaraderie opportunities. In South Africa, shared meals, such as lunches around the office table or monthly barbecues known as "braais," were cherished traditions that fostered meaningful conversations and connections.

Special events like potjiekos competitions further strengthened team bonds, creating lasting memories and a sense of belonging that endured even after leaving the workplace [listen in to hear the stories about our team lunches, extended company get-togethers, and Nuala's team cookoff].

c. How do we build trust in the team?

Building trust within a team is about consistently making each other feel valued and supported. It's about the small, regular gestures rather than sporadic events. Whether it's casual conversations at the water cooler or heartfelt discussions during a barbecue or tea shack gathering, these moments foster connection and understanding.

Even offshore, informal chats on the heli deck or light-hearted banter behind the cranes contribute to team camaraderie. While maintaining boundaries is essential, a bit of humour and playful interaction can strengthen relationships and trust among team members when done in the proper context.

Why a Masterclass - The Pampoen Boere Potjie Cook Off - Image1
Pampoen Potjie Cook Off

You want to understand better what is meant by vulnerability

a. What's vulnerability in a team?

Vulnerability within a team is about being real and open.

It means admitting when you're wrong, asking for help when needed, and showing your true self. This authenticity helps to build stronger connections among team members, fostering trust and understanding.

b. Why show vulnerability?

Showing vulnerability in a team leads to genuine connections, supports learning and growth, and builds resilience.

Team members create an environment where everyone feels accepted and supported by being open about struggles and imperfections. It shows that it's okay to make mistakes and that growing together is part of the journey.

c. How can leaders make vulnerability okay?

Leaders can make vulnerability okay by sharing their own challenges and encouraging a culture of openness and support.

They can create a safe space where team members feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgment. Celebrating moments of vulnerability demonstrates that it's valued and important, fostering a culture of acceptance and growth within the team.

[Listen in to hear Karin's Sunday lunch and Nuala's paper origami balls story]

When discussing vulnerability and psychological safety, it's crucial to grasp the concept of vulnerability itself. In our masterclass, we look at activities that shed light on what vulnerability truly means.

As in mechanical or engineering contexts, openness fosters trust and a willingness to challenge the status quo. Our masterclass explores the ladder of vulnerability, from opening up to daring to question established systems.

Embracing vulnerability is celebrated as a vital step in personal and team development.

You are interested in creating a Safety Culture by design, not by accident

a. What's a Safety Culture by design?

Crafting a culture by design goes beyond mere compliance; it's about ingraining safety as a fundamental aspect of the team's identity. It involves cultivating habits and attitudes that empower team members to speak up and challenge safety processes when necessary.

It's important to note that accountability and clearly defined roles remain essential within this framework. Without setting boundaries, dissent and friction can arise, hindering meaningful conversations and impeding the development of psychological safety within the team.

b. How to build this culture?

Building a strong safety culture involves developing various habits and practices within the team. This includes actively listening, being accountable, and fostering openness and honesty.

It's about involving everyone in safety discussions and ensuring that new team members feel welcomed and part of something larger from the start.

Other key elements include understanding, team development, emotional literacy, and effective communication.

Regular conversations, training sessions, workshops, and attending our complimentary masterclass can all contribute to and give you some ideas about what you want to do.

Ultimately, it's about creating a common language, a degree of understanding, and a sense of curiosity to want to learn more.

c. Why go for a designed safety culture?

Creating a strong safety culture is crucial because it leads to several benefits. It reduces accidents, boosts team morale, improves reputation, and saves money for the bottom line.

It ingrains safety as a habit, ensuring smoother and more efficient project operations while reducing conversational waste.

Ultimately, the goal is for everyone to return home safely each day with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, saying, 'You know what, that was a good day!'

What did we cover in the complimentary masterclass?

  • General overview of Psychological Safety and history
  • Why is everyone talking about it
  • What Psychological Safety is not
  • What Psychological Safety is
  • What is vulnerability
  • Having a common understanding
  • Intro to The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety™️
  • Suggested Psychological Safety Roadmap

Some Reviews:

"Please accept my sincere appreciation for offering me the opportunity to attend the PS Masterclass! All the meaningful assistance and insights not only offered during the masterclass, but also from the various resources available on your website!

It was something that helped me widening my perspective in the field, while I'm trying to identify the interconnections / interdependencies with other relevant concepts, such as emotional intelligence and cognitive skills development."

"Thank you for your time and sharing your experience. The session was very interesting, and dynamic with polls and break-out rooms; I enjoyed it a lot and learned something new to implement in my daily work-life."

👇🏼 To find out More & Join our next Masterclass 👇🏼


Related links

Related Podcasts

  • E057 - How learning through play improves teamwork and psychological safety
  • E036 - How a Safety Tool Aids Psychological Safety: Exploring the 3-2-1 Safety Pyramid
  • E013 - What is the connection between your safety culture and unwritten rules?
  • E007 - What is conversational waste and what can you do about it?
  • E006 - Sharing a bit more - the 4 Stages of Psychological Safety

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About the Show

Our purpose in sharing this podcast is to have a chinwag (conversation) to help people change how they think and behave about safety. 

We do this by engaging in dialogue and testing the levels of trust and psychological safety, which are core to organisational culture. Making safety part of your DNA so that your people speak up, show up, do right, and become safer every day for yourself, your team, and your business.

We will explore topics related to organisational and safety culture, leadership, the language of risk, emotional literacy, psychological safety, conversational agility, intercultural intelligence, and whatever else pops up during our conversations—sharing our experiences and learnings. 

We intend to share nuggets of wisdom that will challenge your perspectives, potentially solve a nagging problem, share actions you can implement, and give you at least one aha moment.

And, if you enjoyed the show and gained value, please share with just one other person to help spread the word.

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