Without emotional/psychological safety it is very difficult to achieve emotional connection and subsequently highly unlikely your team will be successful in reaching its desired outcomes. When we feel secure in our relationships we are more likely to be authentic in our interactions as well as have the courage to be vulnerable. When our sense of safety is threatened it triggers our nervous system to be on high alert so that it can respond effectively and efficiently to the perceived threat.

When emotional safety is present one is likely to collaborate, listen, empathise, innovate, problem solve and subsequently build positive working relationships with our team members. This is critical when working in high risk environments.

Based on their research findings on successful teams, the Google team came up with a list of 5 key dynamics that make great teams successful.  These were: psychological safety, dependability, structure & clarity, meaning and impact.

While all five were needed to create a successful team, psychological safety stood out as the most important factor. See my previous blog here to find out why.

Amy Edmonson and Google both discovered in their respective studies that the teams which made more mistakes were actually more successful. Creating an environment in which people are not fearful of being shamed or blamed for making a mistake is likely to lead to innovative workplaces where employees safely arrive at a solution through collaborating with their peers.

If you create this sense of psychological safety in your own team, you can expect to see higher levels of engagement, increased motivation to tackle difficult problems, more learning and development opportunities and better performance. Facilitating an environment that promotes a learning culture is without a doubt highly advantageous not only for yourself as a leader but your team and guests.

Below I have provided some key steps in how you can build a thriving workplace and successful department:

Lead by example

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your peers to gain insight into your blind spots – The Crew Coach offers coaching around this as we know it can be quite confronting to do on your own
  • Acknowledge your mistakes – by acknowledging your mistakes you are actually going to build respect as a leader – It sets a powerful example in teaching your team members to take ownership of their mistakes rather than blaming others
  • Make an effort to take on board opinions that differ from your own. Sometimes we have a tendency to think that our way is the right way; be open to explore other’s opinions as this is going to facilitate team building, problem solving and innovation.
  • Be approachable – have an open door policy. Your peers should feel comfortable to approach you with whatever concerns you may have. If you are approachable you will build a culture that promotes transparency and supportiveness and are likely in a better position to manage underlying conflicts before they blow up
  • 2 way communication – This communication style includes and opportunity for both the receiver and sender to engage in feedback and evaluate the communication which can thereby enhance the communication between the two parties

Encourage active listening

  • Leave phones at the door during meetings
  • Show understanding by summarising what the respondent has said
  • Encourage people to share more by asking open questions
  • Treat members of your team equally and manage the differently personalities in the room so that everyone gets a say

Create a safe environment

  • Provide guidelines on how you expect your team to communicate with each other and treat each other.
  • Don’t judge behaviour rather seek to understand it
  • Never place blame or publicly shame
  • No idea is a silly idea – this encourages creativity in the workplace as well as leads to effective problem solving

Develop an open mindset

  • Help your team become comfortable receiving feedback from each other. This is effectively achieved through running professional development workshops with your team. The Crew Coach provides tailored workshops to suit your team and their developmental needs
  • Encourage them to listen, reflect and then respond to input from others


The above strategies and tools are taught in our leadership workshop of which you can learn more of here