Psychological Safety: Understanding Me
It's About Respect
The idea of “safety” is often immediately connected to the thought of physical safety, keeping your body safe from harm or injury. Yet, the element of “psychological safety” is just as important to consider when it comes to workplace culture.
Psychological safety is the notion that you can be your authentic self without fear of punishment or discrimination. It creates an environment where everyone is respected, included and valued and in which new ideas and risk-taking are embraced.
The essence of psychological safety has been linked to numerous business benefits, such as better innovation, unleashing the potential of diverse minds, and increased adaptability to change (source). It’s absolutely key to building an inclusive culture no matter your role in a company.
Based on my experiences and life lessons, psychological safety means taking time to understand me. It’s important for people, whether leaders or not, to assure they work with an open mind and build an open environment.
As an African American leader, I feel accountability when hiring for leadership positions to interview diverse candidates, giving everyone a fair shot at any and all opportunities available. This benefits my current team by adding a new, diverse perspective and by exemplifying that all are welcome to join the team.
Our team is a safe space for unique ideas.
An important part of psychological safety is also about having regular, clear communications with functional teams, direct reports and peers. As a leader, the best thing you can do to make sure you’re maintaining a psychologically safe space is:
- Have regular team meetings.
- Check-in and keep the lines of communication open, and when you’re genuine about it, your team will notice.
- Take questions from employees seriously, provide timely responses, and most of all, keep an open mind because you never know what someone is going through.
Once you manage like this, you will be seen as a trusted ally.
My Jabil career has been primarily within the supply chain, starting here 12 years ago as a Supply Chain Development Manager on a new account. I quickly made my way to one of our largest accounts, managing multiple global site locations. Now with material shortages being among one of the most challenging times in history, it’s key to make psychological safety a primary focus for the teams working in this field.
An example to illustrate this is one I experienced at the start of COVID-19. I felt a need to visit suppliers and Jabil sites to work on improving our supply situation however I could. Physically, I knew this wasn’t a smart idea for myself or those around me to get potentially exposed to the virus. However, Jabil leadership prioritized safety for the remote and local operations teams – physically and psychologically – leveraging technology and adhering to local government guidelines. The pressure I felt was lifted from my shoulders, allowing me to safely be health-conscious while still doing my job. That’s just one way in which psychological safety can be handled in a workplace environment.
Psychological safety will result in employees' diverse perspectives being valued and represented in key decisions. It will only make you better as a peer, ally and leader.
Looking for a role in Supply Chain like Waren's? We have many global career opportunities in Supply Chain, Inventory, Materials & Purchasing, Quality and Testing, Operations, and more, supporting world-class customers that make the world's best-known products. Discover the possibilities here.