This article is from RISQ Consulting’s Zywave client portal, a resource available to all RISQ Consulting clients. Please contact your Benefits Consultant or Account Executive for more information or for help setting up your own login.
Several work dynamics can make the team successful. One of the most crucial ones is psychological safety. Being psychologically safe means you feel secure in taking risks and being vulnerable in front of others. In a work environment that fosters this security, you believe you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.
This article explores the concept and benefits of psychological safety and how you can contribute to and be part of a positive and psychologically safe work environment.
The Stages of Psychological Safety
According to research, you may progress through four sequential stages of psychological safety:
- Inclusion safety—You feel safe and accepted to be who you are in the work environment.
- Learner safety—You feel safe to learn, ask questions and experiment. You’re also open to giving and receiving feedback.
- Contributor safety—You feel safe to make a valuable contribution using your skills and gifts.
- Challenger safety—You feel safe to challenge the status quo when you see room for change or improvement.
After progressing through those four stages, you are likely comfortable speaking up in the workplace.
The Importance of Psychological Safety
Creating a workplace environment in which employees feel comfortable taking risks is essential to workplace innovation. Psychological safety is crucial because it:
- Enhances your workplace engagement
- Improves your well-being
- Inspires creativity and ideas
- Fosters an inclusive culture
Creating a psychologically safe work environment is intentional, but it can positively impact you and the overall work culture. Achieving this type of security can also have unique challenges in remote and hybrid workplaces, as that culture extends beyond the physical workplace.
Contributing to the Work Environment
Psychological safety typically hinges on organizational leadership, but there are ways that every employee can challenge or influence workplace cultural norms. Consider the following ways you can help support a psychologically safe work environment:
- Be curious. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for peer or manager feedback. Adopt a learning mindset by accepting you don’t have all the facts and can learn from others.
- Listen actively. Active listeners can make others feel valued by avoiding distractions (e.g., phones) and demonstrating understanding during meetings. If you’re working remotely, turn on your camera in meetings so it’s apparent you’re paying attention and engaged.
- Communicate effectively. It’s essential to set clear expectations for timelines and goals. If you’re working in a hybrid work environment, it’s even more crucial to check in often to lower the chances for miscommunication.
- Have an open mind. Approaching tasks or challenges from a different angle can help bring perspective. Consider feedback to be constructive and meant to strengthen the team’s ideas or processes. Also, think about how you’re responding to feedback or input. It comes down to being open to ideas or views that differ from your own.
- Foster a safe environment. Co-workers may not speak up due to the fear of being judged. To help encourage a psychologically safe environment, be sure not to interrupt and never blame others. The goal is to ensure people feel like their out-of-the-box suggestions are encouraged and considered by the team.
- Practice your awareness. During meetings or conversations, pay attention to how your words, actions and other nonverbal cues resonate with others. In a remote or hybrid work environment, video calls can help with observing how you’re being received.
- Recognize courageous acts. It’s vital to give praise or acknowledge when a co-worker shows vulnerability, offers a new idea or shares a mistake. It can be challenging for people to speak up, so it’s important to make sure they don’t feel embarrassed or unheard after expressing vulnerability.
- Support others. If your work or opinions are often embraced, use your influence to empower others who may be underrepresented. Some simple ways to do that are to highlight their accomplishments to others or recommend them for projects or assignments.
A psychologically safe work environment centers on respect. Practice these steps personally and speak up or intervene if you see others not being respectful. The safer the work environment, the stronger and more successful you and your co-workers can be.
Psychological safety is a key work dynamic that takes time to build but just moments to destroy. It comes down to being human in your work environment and creating opportunities for open feedback and dialogue. If working in a remote or hybrid work environment, you’ll have to be even more intentional with showing appreciation for co-workers and acceptance of their ideas, thoughts and discussions.
Talk to your manager if you have concerns or questions about psychological safety in your work environment.
By Taylor Brouillet-Stock, Account Specialist
Have you ever had an instance when you didn’t get along with a coworker? Well, maybe it was because they’re a Taurus and you’re an Aries! Just kidding, that’s not entirely how astrology works. Astrology has become a contentious topic of discussion as its popularity has grown over the years. People often wonder, does astrology somehow control our fate? Or is this just a bunch of bologna? Whether you believe in astrology or think it’s straight up nonsense, it can be a very interesting topic to learn about and can invite us to learn more about ourselves and others (like the people we work with). Plus, it’s just plain FUN!
Check out below what your zodiac sign is along with a few strengths, weaknesses, and general overview of each sign in the workplace.
Aries (March 21-April 20)
- Strengths: Courageous, confident, determined, passionate, energetic
- Weaknesses: Impatient, short-tempered, impulsive
- In the workplace: Aries are the first of the zodiac, therefore, they have a desire to be first at everything and are natural born leaders who are fiercely competitive. In the workplace, they are often gamechangers and are a great force. However, it can be important for this sun sign to remember to be patient and to not overstep boundaries.
Taurus (April 21-May 21)
- Strengths: Patient, reliable, responsible, practical
- Weaknesses: Stubborn, possessive, greedy
- In the workplace: People born under this sun sign are often known as “the rock of the workplace”. They value their security and stability and are known for being dependable and reliable in the workplace. You can typically count on a Taurus to be unfazed by potential emotional turmoil that may easily cloud other’s vision.
Gemini (May 22-June 21)
- Strengths: Curious, adaptable, versatile, intellectual
- Weaknesses: Inconsistent, indecisive, superficial
- In the workplace: Geminis have been known to be “the most delightful to work with”. This sun sign is ruled by Mercury, so they value communication. The symbol of Gemini is the “twins”, which can make them seem “superficial” at times as they may act different in different surroundings. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this sign is very adaptable to its surroundings and can vibe with anyone.
Cancer (June 22-July 22)
- Strengths: Loyal, sympathetic, persuasive, imaginative
- Weaknesses: Manipulative, pessimistic, clingy
- In the workplace: Cancers are very much in tune with their own emotions, as well as other’s emotions which can make them a very caring co-worker. The symbol for Cancer is a crab, which reflects how Cancers can sometimes be very guarded (like how a crab’s shell provides protection) which makes it hard to let their true personality shine through.
Leo (July 23-August 21)
- Strengths: Generous, humorous, cheerful, creative
- Weaknesses: Arrogant, bossy, inflexible
- In the workplace: Leos are often known as the “king of the office jungle” as their symbol is the lion. Leos thrive on the energy of others and have the ability to bring their own enthusiasm to the workplace. Leos are ruled by the Sun, so they are the center of their own universe which can make it quite easy to bruise a Leo’s ego.
Virgo (August 22-September 23)
- Strengths: Analytical, hardworking, practical, diligent
- Weaknesses: Shy, overly critical of self and others, perfectionist
- In the workplace: Virgos are known as the “diligent, silent soldiers” in the workplace. They are intelligent, however they typically over-think, over-worry, and over-work themselves. In addition, Virgos can sometimes come off as very critical of others.
Libra (September 24-October 23)
- Strengths: Cooperative, fair-minded, diplomatic, easygoing
- Weaknesses: Avoids confrontations, indecisive, holds a grudge
- In the workplace: The symbol for Libra is the scales and because of this, Libras value justice and balance. They are often known as the “unifying force of justice” in the workplace as they are usually unbothered by others and are known to be unbiased and very fair. However, at times, a Libra’s confidence in their judgment can be overpowering and can end up clouding their judgment.
Scorpio (October 24-November 22)
- Strengths: Brave, passionate, resourceful, determined
- Weaknesses: Jealous, secretive, distrusting
- In the workplace: Just like a scorpion (the symbol for this sun sign) Scorpios are the people at work that you don’t want to mess with. However, on the plus side, they can accomplish anything due to their drive, determination, passion, and their resourcefulness.
Sagittarius (November 23-December 22)
- Strengths: Generous, idealistic, optimistic, straightforward
- Weaknesses: Impatient, careless, irresponsible
- In the workplace: Sagittarians have been known to be a “ray of sunshine in a windowless office”. They are often very optimistic and adventurous. However, there are times when this sun sign takes things too far and can get caught up pursuing a good time.
Capricorn (December 23-January 20)
- Strengths: Responsible, disciplined, practical, careful
- Weaknesses: Pessimistic, know-it-all, unforgiving
- In the workplace: Capricorns are often very efficient and helpful in the workplace. You can count on them to be responsible and practical. Capricorns value stability and order which is often reflected in their work. At times, Capricorns may come off as a know-it-all, however they just might actually know it all.
Aquarius (January 21-February 19)
- Strengths: Independent, humanitarian, original, progressive
- Weaknesses: Avoids emotional expression, temperamental, uncompromising
- In the workplace: Aquarians are known as one of the most “good-natured of the bunch”. Due to their independence and originality, they often isolate themselves and they have sometimes been known to set double standards.
Pisces (February 20-March 20)
- Strengths: Compassionate, artistic, gentle, wise, intuitive
- Weaknesses: Overly trusting, fearful, desire to escape reality
- In the workplace: Pisces are the “babies” of the zodiac signs and are often a “mix” of all zodiac signs. This makes Pisces very intuitive of others which can them more aware of how other people are feeling. Like Cancer, this makes for a very caring and emotionally intelligent co-worker.
So, what does all this mean? Well, that’s for you to decide! It Of course, this is a very general overview of each zodiac sign, and it may not reflect exactly who you are as a person. If you want to learn more, I suggest doing more research into your sun sign (and possibly your entire birth chart, but that’s a whole different conversation).
Whether you believe any of this to be true or not, it’s always beneficial to seek a greater understanding of our strengths, weaknesses, and how we may act in the workplace. It can also help to understand our coworkers better, which may help to create better relationships with those people. Let’s be honest, if you’re going to spend 40 hours a week with people, don’t you want to get along with them? Even if they are a Taurus and you’re an Aries…