Psychological Safety Toolkit

Psychological Safety Toolkit

What is Psychological Safety?

A psychologically safe environment is one which allows people to take interpersonal risks without fear of negative consequences, such as social exclusion or judgement. For example, if a child feels psychologically safe in class with their peers and teachers, then they are more likely to ask for help, to share their ideas, ask questions, or admit they don’t understand something. They are more likely to try, knowing it’s okay to fail. They will still be accepted, even if they make mistakes. This has obvious benefits for individual learning, and the rest of the class who have the potential to learn from others’ questions and ideas.

Given this, we can consider how psychological safety might be affected when environments are not inclusive. Psychological safety relates to feeling supported and accepted by your peers. If you are rejected based upon personal characteristics (e.g. sexual orientation, disability, gender identity) it means a rejection not (just) of your ideas, but for being who you are.

These experiences – whether direct or indirect – could lead to someone feeling unsafe with others in their school. They may feel unsafe to share their authentic self. When a person feels it necessary to hide who they are to avoid negative experiences, it can have a serious impact. For example, it has been suggested that prejudice and/or social exclusion could be a factor in the increased rates of mental illness reported by LGBTQ+ people, when compared to the heterosexual population.

We can see, therefore, why creating an educational environment which celebrates diversity, including different ideas, backgrounds, cultures, identities, and perspectives can be vital in promoting psychological safety. Research suggests that the behaviour of a leader can be important in encouraging psychological safety within a group. This could mean celebrating everyone’s contributions, but also acknowledging your own mistakes and how they help you learn.

The Diverse Educators’ Psychological Safety Toolkit

We are collating a growing bank of resources to support you in reflecting on the following questions:
  • Where in my life do I feel safe to share my ideas or my authentic self? What can I learn from this?
  • Does my classroom or school welcome everyone’s contribution?
  • How can I encourage others to share their ideas and feel able to make mistakes without being judged?
  • How might psychological safety be experienced differently by marginalised groups in my school?
  • How can I make my school a place where diversity is celebrated and everyone can feel safe?

Articles

CCL

What Is Psychological Safety at Work?

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Forbes

How to Create Your Own Psychological Safety at Work

Read

Gallup

How to Create a Culture of Psychological Safety

Read

The Happiness Index

How to Create Psychological Safety at Work

Read

HBR

High Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It

Read

Inc

Great Leaders Do These 3 Things To Foster Psychological Safety

Read

InnerDrive

Psychological Safety in the Classroom

Read

Learner Lab

A Guide to Psychological Safety

Read

McKinsey

Psychological Safety and the Critical Role of Leadership Development

Read

New York Times

What Google Learned from Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

Read

Thrive

9 Ways to Increase Your Team’s Psychological Safety

Read

Blogs

Dr Caitlin Tucker

View

Drowningintheshallow (psychological safety within PE)

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Lauren M. Kaufman

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Books

Clark, Timothy R. The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety

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Edmondson, Amy C. The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth

View

Humphries, Dr Tony. Creating Psychological Safety

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Rodecki, Dr Dan. Psychological Safety – The Key to Happy, High-Performing Teams

View

Podcasts

Adam Grant

Listen

Brené Brown

Listen

Life and Leadership

Listen

Stories of Success

Listen

Resources

A ‘How To’ Guide - Behaviour that Builds Psychological Safety in Schools

View

A Welcome Space for Taking Risks

View

5 Minute Psychological Safety Audit

View

Psychological Safety for Staff in Schools

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Taking The Temperature

View

Videos

Amy Edmondson - Building a Psychologically Safe Workplace

View on YouTube

Creating a Safe Environment in Schools - Anna Freud Centre

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What is Psychological Safety, and How Do You Create Psychological Safety at Work?

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