Inclusivity and High Performance Begins with Psychological Safety


A workplace where employees believe they can speak up candidly with ideas, questions, and concerns, and even make mistakes without fear of reprisal or adverse repercussions, contributes to inclusivity and can improve performance. In such a work environment, employees feel comfortable asking questions, admitting what they do not know, or expressing their work-relevant thoughts and feelings. This construct is called psychological safety.

According to Lisa H. Nishii, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Human Resource Studies and Director, International Programs, in the School of Industrial Labor Relations of Cornell University, with regard to psychological safety:

The issue to think about here is if team members can’t bring themselves to speak what’s on their mind — that is they censor themselves, then they won’t experience inclusion, nor will the group benefit from their perspectives. If team members don’t trust each other, then they’re going to waste time and energy thinking about what they should say, and what they shouldn’t say, and wonder about the true intentions of their peers when they’re interacting with them.

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