Psychological Safety is a shared belief that it’s OK to take those interpersonal risks that are required to make the next breakthrough. It’s also a climate where it’s safe to make and be open about mistakes, learn from those experiences, and challenge the status quo. Psychological safety increases an individual’s willingness to be accountable, reliable, and open, producing high-performing teams. It drives innovation, creativity, engagement, talent retention, and is rapidly becoming a top competitive advantage in all organizations across every industry.
The PS16TM survey consists of 16 items that employees answer. Similar to a 360-style survey, it’s important that enough members of a department or organization participate in order to obtain accurate snapshot of psychological safety levels in their work zone.
All items in the PS16™ survey fall into 4 categories: Learner Safety, Challenger Safety, Collaborator Safety, and Inclusion Safety. The results provide an overview of how well your organization performs in each category and also breaks down each of the 16 items to get a granular view of areas where your organization is strong and where your organization needs improvement.
Teams thrive when a climate of high Psychological Safety exists, we call it a Blue Zone. Google’s Aristotle project recently confirmed our research after 2 years of studying 180 of their work teams. All aspects of these teams were closely measured (e.g. technical skills, demographic information, levels of collaboration, etc.) they found that by far, psychological safety was the best indicator of the team’s success at accomplishing their objectives.
Organizations that go without assessing their organization’s psychological safety are living with blind spots, and employees that are feeling the pain are not able to speak up about it when the workplace is not psychologically safe. Teams can go on like this for years, and it often requires an anonymous survey such as this to identify where problems exist and convince management to take action.
It’s important to remember that Psychological Safety doesn’t simply happen when a leader commits to being a ‘nice person’– a climate of Psychological Safety is a product of a leader’s emotional intelligence skillset. Also, psychological safety is important but isn’t the silver bullet to productivity. As Amy Edmondson at Harvard points out, psychological safety without accountability is a comfort zone, while psychological safety with accountability is a learning zone. Leaders must master the EQ skills that lead to both psychological safety and accountability.
For this reason, the BlueEQ™ Emotional Intelligence Assessment and PS16™ go hand-in-hand, and we recommend that your executive team assesses their EQ after discovering your psychological safety weak spots.