A vast amount of research shows that psychological safety is a critical factor to team performance, employee engagement and therefore organisational performance.
Psychological safety refers to an individual’s perception of the consequences of taking an interpersonal risk or a belief that a team is safe for risk taking in the face of being seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative, or disruptive. In a team with high psychological safety, members feel safe to take risks with each other. They feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.
The term was coined by Amy Edmondson, who continues to pioneer the research on psychological safety. The effects on employee engagement and performance in a wide range of settings (industries, team types, geographies) are summarised below. Further details for each of the case studies below can be found in the appendix.