In the era of AI and change, organizations will need to create a Human Intelligent (HI) Workplace by enabling a Psychologically Safe Environment (Part 5)

Psychological Safety

Human Intelligent (HI) Workplace
Helping Leaders Help Themselves

April 8, 2024

A Human Intelligent (HI) Workplace is defined as one where leaders model effective leadership behaviors by creating an organizational culture where the workers’ experience is one of being engaged while collaborating with their diverse team members.

It is a workplace where the workforce feels psychologically safe  when raising different perspectives, taking risks, being innovative, and/or being creative. It is a workplace where the workforce feels listened to and understood by their leaders. It is a workplace where the workforce finds fulfillment in the work they do and in the organization they work in.

As you can read, the fifth component that can enable a Human Intelligent Workplace is about the workforce feeling psychologically safe in their workplace. Amy Edmundson from Harvard has researched and written extensively on the subject. This is particularly important because, in this day and age, most organizations claim to want their workforce to be creative and innovative. However, to do this, leaders need to be open to mistakes being made, because when someone is being creative and innovative, they are trying something for the first time, which means there is a 50/50 chance of failure.

Feeling psychologically safe also affects a worker’s stress level and their comfortableness in their workplace. When employees feel psychologically safe, they also feel happier, they are more productive, healthier, and committed. All that has been shown to impact the bottom line. Further, it has shown that autonomy, purpose, and mastery are what motivate workers. This means workers do not feel micro-managed, are working on something bigger than them, and are always learning. This can only be negatively impacted if they do not feel psychologically safe.

It has also been found that when people feel psychologically safe in the workplace, they are comfortable making mistakes, they thrive in a learning culture, everyone tends to share ideas, and they tend to be better at making decisions and being innovative. In order for you as a reader and/or leader to consider if you’re organization is a psychologically safe work environment, you might want to consider the following questions:

  1. Is your organization a place where the workforce feels psychologically safe?
  2. Does your workforce demonstrate creativity and innovation in what they do?
  3. Are your leaders supporting this?
  4. How do you know? Have you checked with your workforce?

How you answer these questions and in addition gain insights from the rest of the organization will only help in ensuring your organizational culture is one of psychological safety. Effective leadership with an engaging organizational culture will be fundamental.

Reach out if you’d like to discuss ways to assess your organization to determine if and what sort of plan you need to develop.

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