What are the 10 Revealing Indicators Your Organization Lacks Psychological Safety?

When an organization lacks psychological safety, people don’t feel comfortable expressing themselves or taking interpersonal risks to speak up. Ten revealing indicators help you identify if your organization lacks psychological safety. You should be aware of these signs as a warning.

What are the  10 Revealing Indicators Your Organization Lacks Psychological Safety?

  1. Employees are hesitant to take interpersonal risks.
  2. Employees avoid engaging in candid conversations.
  3. Employees are hesitant to challenge.
  4. Employees refrain from speaking up.
  5. Leaders only hear good news.
  6. Teams lack collaboration, communication, and coordination.
  7. You witness defensiveness or disengagement.
  8. Employees don’t feel heard and recognized.
  9. You notice poor communication between departments and other teams.
  10. Leaders are intolerant of mistakes, errors, and failures.

If any of these signs are present in your organization, the level of psychological safety is likely low.

What are the Benefits of Psychological Safety?

Psychological safety in an organization is essential for its success and for getting a team to its sailing destination. Employees who feel safe and trusted are more likely to be productive, innovative, creative, and collaborative. Some of the key benefits of having safety and trust include:

√ Ability to take interpersonal risks, speak up and rock the boat.

√ Boosted morale and productivity.

√ Enhanced creativity and problem-solving

√ Increased learning, interdependence, and innovation.

√ Strengthened collaboration, cooperation, coordination,

√ Expanded opportunities for growth and development.

√ Strengthened team relationships and socialization.

√ Improved decision-making.

√ More efficient use of resources.

√ Improved communication, voice, and feedback.

√ Increased self-efficacy, engagement, and thriving. 

How Can Executives Foster Psychological Safety in Their Organizations?

Executives play a crucial role in fostering psychological safety in their organizations. There are several steps executives can take to ensure that their organizations are sailing smoothly. These include:

√ Modeling the way and leading with curiosity, humility, and humanity.

√ Framing the work to encourage staff to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

√ Establishing a culture of transparency.

√ Encouraging critical thinking.

√ Listening to feedback from all levels of the organization.

√ Promoting peer-to-peer learning.

√ Creating an open dialogue between departments and teams.

√ Allowing for honest conversations about mistakes or failures.

√ Encouraging candor and open communication channels between employees and managers.

√ Fostering a culture that values learning from mistakes and encourages risk-taking.


Adapted from Edmondson, Amy. The Fearless Organization. Wiley 2018

Recommended Reading: 

10 Red Flags That Psychological Safety Is Lacking In Your Workplace

Meet Jodie, your Culture & Transformation Captain. With over twenty years helping people change, facilitating team discussions, building cultures, designing, implementing and teaching classes, your organization is in good hands.