grow with mistakes as a natural part of learning

Psychological safety at the workplace

Psychological security for productivity

Research has shown that psychological safety is one of the most important factors for a team to be productive. As a leader, you have both a great responsibility and great opportunities to get there.

But what does it really mean to have psychological security in your project and why is it so important?

The term psychological safety has been around for a long time and was coined in the 50s by the psychologist and psychotherapist Carl Rogers as a way of describing what an individual needs available in his environment to promote his creativity.

två personer som kommunicerar över promenad för ökad psykologisk trygghet

Go further together with psychological safety

How the concept of psychological safety affects the group in the workplace became known when Amy Edmondson was to investigate the connection between group work and mistakes at work. She quickly noticed that the group with the greatest effect was also the one that reported more problems.

So how could it be—did the group that showed more power also have more problems? No, when she looked more closely, it turned out that they had no more problems than other groups. But – they had an environment where they dared to express themselves when something didn’t go right. Which gave the appearance of more problems, when in reality it meant the group had a healthier and more productive way of communicating. They felt psychologically safe enough to share not only successes, but also failures. And the group could learn from them.

Having psychological safety in one’s project is thus not only good for the perceived feeling and the individual’s creativity, but it also affects the group’s productivity and thus the benefit of the project as a whole. This means that everyone dares to share their thoughts and ideas with each other without worrying about being reprimanded or punished for what was said. That there is open and honest communication where everyone is given space to express their opinion and feel seen. Everyone knows that their perspective will be heard and respected, even if opinions differ.

Psychological safety in a team is thus extremely important for its effectiveness – for a team that shares knowledge resolves conflicts constructively and moves forward faster than a team that does not.

How can you work with psychological safety?

Be inclusive

Work inclusively and ensure that everyone gets to speak by actively sharing the floor in a group context. Let everyone speak to the point without interrupting unnecessarily so everyone gets an equal chance to share their perspective.

Focus on the right thing

See problems as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than resistance and failure. Ask questions with curiosity about what the person has learned or takes away from the situation.

Clarity in communication

Be clear about your expectations, both of individuals, of you as a group and in the different phases of the project

Support others

Be willing to share knowledge and own mistakes and help employees find the right way by having a consultative role.

A long-term strategy

How do you achieve psychological safety? Unfortunately, it is not a simple checklist that can be ticked off once to see results. All groups have different dynamics, strengths and challenges. This means active work where the group works towards consensus and common goals through empathy in communication.


Learn more about the different and complex parts you need to put in place to achieve psychological safety.


Work together to get the most effect and learn what your group’s needs are.


Learn together to understand what you want to achieve and why. When everyone has the same starting point, it becomes easier to understand each other.

Do you want help with psychological security for more committed and productive employees?

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