Does Psychological Safety Exist?

I fix broken things: bad communication, disengaged employees, unproductive teams, and leaders that no one trusts. Is my effort futile? Does psychological safety really exist? Yes. Yes, it does. Let’s celebrate one such workplace. My previous coworker (and friend) Becky was assigned a massive project.  The type of project that determined if the organization she

  • this is not psychological safety

Should Have Kept My Mouth Shut

It was an all-day companywide off-site meeting.  Every single employee had to be there. The purpose-- give input on organizational goals and challenges. We were put into random groups of eight persons.  One person in our group came up with what we believed to be an incredibly innovate idea.  So, we put our idea forward,

Practicing What I Preach

I’m three weeks into having a summer intern and things aren’t going perfectly. “I’m so sorry.  I was up at 6 AM worried because I didn’t get it done.” The first week I was all chill and encouraging–inside and out.  “No worries, we are figuring things out,” I said. “Oh, I forgot you needed it

  • psychological safety for new hires

How to Create Psychological Safety for New Employees

Being the newest person on the team is hard. The new person rarely knows where or how they fit in. Department and company lingo doesn’t make sense. Systems, processes, people’s names, who to talk to about what, and who not to talk to has to be learned. It’s a lot to navigate all while trying

Humiliation Equals Censorship

“Hello. My name is Jeannette. How are you today?” I tried to say it Spanish. My college professor said this in English, “How about you try to pronounce it correctly this time?” My response was equally snarky … “How about you teach me to say it correctly and I will!” This brief interaction over 20

My Boss Taught Me a Lesson

I thought I was going to get fired.  It was my first semester as college faculty, and my boss was evaluating my teaching in action.  I was already nervous and seeing my boss in the back of the classroom with pen and paper in hand didn’t help my anxiety.  Then a student raised her hand

The Insensitive Boss

A number of years ago a person in a training class of mine shared a story. I am retelling it with her permission. Let’s call her Sue. Sue had returned to work after taking a sabbatical under the Family Medical Leave Act.  During her first one-on-one with her boss, Sue’s boss asked, “How are you

  • women in front of audience feeling insecure and not feeling psychological safety

A Tale of Battered Psychological Safety

Newly divorced. Only 24 years old. I was raw. Trying to claw my way out of feeling like a failure, I enrolled in college for the first time. During my first semester, I mustered the courage to compete in a speech event. I practiced my carefully crafted speech in front my parents … their response

Psychological Safety and How It Looks

Recently I had a conversation with a high-level leader about psychological safety. She told me, “This sounds like HR fluff and honestly, it would never fly here.” I appreciated this person’s honesty, but at the same time she epitomized exactly why psychological safety is critically important in the places most resistant to it. Had I

Why I Care About Psychological Safety (and what is it?)

I had a coworker who rolled his eyes when I talked and would “humph” under his breath. I remember feeling insecure and afraid to speak up. This was almost 20 years ago, and the problem was a lack of psychological safety on our team. I want to prevent this problem on your teams because it