7 Ways to Create Psychological Safety

psychological safety, culture, leadership, interaction safety, change,

What is Psychological Safety?

It is the creation of a safe space for people to risk being themselves, sharing ideas, wondering and doubting. Meaningful change or even strategic renewal requires psychological safety, (sometimes called interaction safety). Healthy organizations have psychological or interaction safety. It allows you to leverage your people for ideas, for change, for ownership of mission, for benefiting from the best people have to offer.


“Interaction safety creates an environment through intentional actions and behaviors that encourage reasonable risk-taking, sharing ideas, and creating an inclusive, collaborative workplace. It is an environment that makes people feel safe enough to share not just their best ideas, but their still-in-formation ideas.

When interaction safety exists, people know they will not be penalized, ostracized, demoted, made small, discounted or shunned because of their thoughts, contributions, and conversations.” - Judith Katz and Fred Miller

What does Psychological Safety Do?

Join a video conversation to learn more about the role of psychological (interaction) safety with Dr. Steve Goodwin of Turning West and Kristin Wiersma of The Joshua Group

A great book resource for building and practicing a place to ask questions.: Imagining A New Church: What If We Are Asking The Wrong Questions? by Jeffrey Kjellberg

We all know when the freedom exists to fully be and share in a group or organization. We can feel the space for creativity, for connection and new ideas. So, how can leaders create the psychological safety needed for a healthy culture AND capacity for change?


7 Ways Leaders Create Interaction Safety:

  • Model the mindsets and behaviors needed to create interaction safety.
  • Ensure new leaders are coached and demonstrate interaction safety behaviors.
  • Conduct listening tours to ensure interaction safety is a foundational part of the culture—especially with new people and social identity groups. Identify areas for improvement.
  • Make sure creating interaction safety is a skill set that is included in performance reviews, compensation/rewards and criteria for promotion for all organization leaders.  
  • Continually assess how the organization is doing in regard to interaction safety.
  • Refresh and reinvigorate the focus on interaction safety for continuous improvement.
  • Share examples of how interaction safety is impacting individual, team, and organizational performance.

                             -From Safe Enough to Soar: Accelerating Trust, Inclusion and Collaboration in the Workplace, by Judith Katz and Fred Miller

Kristin Wiersma | Consultant Team Lead | The Joshua Group | email

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