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The Trap of Making Psychological Safety a “Trend”

The Trap of Making Psychological Safety a “Trend”

Like many other important initiatives and movements, psychological safety is becoming a trend. However, as seen with other movements, it doesn't take long for people to begin misusing terms and using them to center themselves and manipulate others taking it from an important issue to a weaponized land mine. This is because with psychological safety rapidly becoming a more recognized need inside of organizations, there is a significant gap in how to create it in practical everyday interactions with human beings.

Most organizations, when looking at the problem solution paradigm move from recognizing the problem to wanting to immediately move into creating initiatives and observing patterns and trends. While action is the key to movement forward, blind action without skills and true understanding of what you are implementing ends up causing more harm than progress. This is due to incomplete approach to systems thinking. In the traditional Goldberg's System's based approach to thinking, he suggests that when looking one must look beyond the event and the patterns and trends to begin to see the solutions. We must look at the structures that uphold the patterns, and even more deeply the mental models or thinking that created the structures. Many organizations only go as far as patterns and trends. More enlightened organizations may even begin to look at the structure. However, few take on the thinking that create the structures and systems. 

 When you look at the thinking and mental maps, it becomes easy to see that there could be missing skills that would "skill up" leaders and employees with the tools to effectively shift and change the system itself.

With psychological safety, we must look at the current mental models and thinking that are at the root of unsafe and psychologically toxic environments inside of organizations. In the work that we do, we propose that even deeper than the mental models are the underlying traumas that source the harmful thinking at play. And finally, at the deepest part of the iceberg, is humanity (or the loss thereof).

This is why at the core of our training, we teach leaders to start with the brain and communication. When one understands the source of their responses and reactions, they can begin to interrupt them. Adding in trauma responsiveness to communication then begins to truly "skill up" the leaders to create psychologically safe interactions that shift the culture from the inside out rather than slapping on empty exercises and initiatives that will ultimately feel like 'check the box' actions without congruence from the individuals running the system.

Psychological safety is an essential part of an organization. It helps build and maintain a thriving workforce, and it helps cultivate the well-being of the leaders and employees inside of the system. It fosters inclusivity, belonging, and creativity as well as next level learning, full expression, and accountability. However, fostering true psychological safety requires leaders and individuals to take on their own personal growth, develop their emotional intelligence, and learn trauma responsive communication. No doubt that policies, and frameworks are still needed, but without the shift in the people running those policies, the change will be as effective as a cup with a hole in its foundation, and it will become the next passing trend. It will become misused, weaponized, and cause harm to the very communities it is meant to empower.

Create Psychological Safety in your organization. When you leave your employees feeling seen, heard, understood, valued, appreciated, and respected they will stay and make your organization their career home. Want to know more? Our "Communication That Transforms: Trauma Informed Communication Online Training" could be the next right training for your organization. Learn more. Click here to learn more: https://mindremappingacademy.com/courses/ticc/ 

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Tuesday, 21 May 2024