Psychological Safety: Measure, Learn, Improve in Your Workplace

Psychological Safety as a Foundation for Lean (or for Innovation)

We can be more successful in our Lean journeys by actively working to build a higher level of psychological safety.

This requires leaders to model vulnerable acts, such as saying things like:

  • “I don’t know”
  • “I made a mistake”
  • “I could be wrong”
  • “I have an idea for improvement”
  • “Let's run an experiment to see how that idea works”
  • “That didn't work as we expected”

Leaders must also reward those vulnerable acts when employees take the chance to follow their lead.

The level of psychological safety that’s felt by each individual hinges upon their vulnerable acts being rewarded, not punished.

This is true in manufacturing companies, healthcare organizations, software companies, and beyond.

Toyota has not hidden its emphasis on psychological safety in the workplace (in addition to physical safety).

Psychological Safety is arguably a necessary pre-condition for Lean to take root and thrive.

Higher levels of psychological safety allow us to effectively learn from mistakes in a way that, combined with Lean problem-solving methods, prevents the recurrence of those mistakes. Psychological safety, at its highest levels, is a necessary precondition for a culture of continuous improvement and for innovation.

The connections between psychological safety and business success are clear.

Let’s work together to measure and discuss the current state of psychological safety in our teams. Let’s use that, along with a proven research and knowledge base, to learn and improve.

Higher psychological safety means more innovation which means more success.

Mark Graban is Certified to Help

Mark Graban is certified through LeaderFactor to help you progress through the proven “four stages of psychological safety.”

This includes:

  • Measurement of the current state of psychological safety in your team(s)
  • Debrief and discussion of survey scores and freeform responses with leaders
  • Educating leaders and teams on how to improve psychological safety using proven methods
  • Coaching leaders as they work to improve and, then, reassess

Contact Mark if you'd like to talk about how he can help you and your organization.

Mark can also be a speaker or trainer for your event or organization on this important topic.

Blog Posts by Mark Graban on Psychological Safety