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Belief and safety at work, what’s their relationship?

One of the conditions of work for results is emotional stability. Is it present in your work culture?

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29, 2020

5 min read

This article has been translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors can occur due to this process.

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

By: Claudia Reveles / Human Development Facilitator in collaboration with Great Place to Work® Mexico.

It is becoming increasingly common to hear or read about the importance of mental safety in the workplace. Organizations that want to be recognized by their employees as excellent jobs take care of this aspect. An important part of this condition is the actions of its leaders.

For Amy Edmondson, Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, psychological safety describes team members' perceptions of the consequences of taking interpersonal risk in a particular context such as a workplace.

When a person is in a room where they feel mentally safe, they can talk about ideas, concerns, or questions or mistakes.

Why is this freedom important? Because in such a room, the relationship of trust between a manager and his employees as well as between the employees themselves is maintained. And in this safe space, the group will be more willing to create, innovate, experiment and challenge the established.


Do you feel today with this freedom in your work area? And what is even more important: Do you think that you are a manager who creates the working conditions in such a way that your employees feel this freedom?

I invite you to reflect on the latest project or initiative that you and your team of collaborators have taken on:

Let the fears go away

Think about the biggest problem that ever occurred …

Did you discuss the subject on occasion? Did you talk about the topic when you opened it? What conditions existed that allowed this or not? How did the opportunity and openness with which the problem was discussed affect its solution?

One of the reasons we don't talk about issues with openness and opportunity is because we feel at risk. And what threatens us? To think that we might be viewed by others as someone who is ignorant, incompetent, inappropriate, or negative.

Some Beliefs That May Be Present:

"If I ask something that others already know, they will see me as stupid or ignorant."

Why do you think you should know everything Could it be that another possibility is that you are seen as someone who is curious or interested?

"I caused the problem and I need to fix it"

If someone else has faced a similar situation before, don't you want to know how they solved it? Why limit how much someone else can support you?

"If I try something different and make a mistake, it's because I'm not capable enough for the job."

Is it an incentive for you to see the mistake as something negative, to try new things? What makes you think you shouldn't be wrong trying something different?


"If I talk about the mistake I noticed in the project right now, it can be perceived as negative."

What if by talking about this mistake you prevent things from getting more complicated?

These beliefs arise in spaces where we have learned that speaking about our ideas, concerns, doubts, or needing support is a risk.

As a leader, you are not responsible for the personal history of each of your employees, but in the present moment it is your responsibility to create a psychological safety environment in which they have the opportunity to have a different experience based on trust.

What should I do?

Talk to your employees about the importance of listening to their opinions, concerns, and ideas. And be sure to listen actively and without judgment when they do. Know personal style. Perhaps not all of your employees are comfortable expressing their ideas orally in a meeting. Look for mechanisms that give everyone the opportunity while respecting their personal style. Show yourself to be fallible. Share with your employees the experiences where they made a mistake. Talk to them about how you broke up and how those experiences made you stronger. If you do, they will be more confident to talk about their own concerns and mistakes. Avoid punishing mistakes. When a bug is identified, the focus is on loosening the learning and then identifying what is leaving the experience. Be aware of the effects of your actions. Remember that you are a role model for your employees at all times. If you respect your co-workers, they are much more likely to repeat this behavior among themselves. If you discover an action that is undermining the group's psychological security, act with opportunity and determination, making it clear which behaviors are undesirable and why.

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