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What is Psychological Safety?

Psychological safety is a term used to describe whether a person feels it is safe to take a personal risk around their team members.

Professor Amy Edmondson and researchers at Google both found that the presence or absence of psychological safety between team members was one of the key determinants of workplace performance, since this impacted whether the group felt they could raise issues or concerns, whether it was safe to make mistakes, and whether they could risk trying more bold actions.

When someone isn’t clear how their contribution will be received or gets a negative reaction, this triggers anxiety in the brain. Professor Amy Edmondson points out that we all know how to avoid these negative reactions from others; we just need to keep our mouths shut!

It turns out that no one wakes up in the morning and jumps out of bed because they can't wait to get to work today to look ignorant, incompetent, intrusive, or negative.

Amy Edmondson

Team meetings provide one of the more powerful, repeatable, and focused opportunities for developing psychological safety. Well-run meetings foster psychological safety between team members. Poorly run meetings erode psychological safety.

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