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Dr. Timothy Clark developed a framework consisting of four stages of psychological safety that individuals need to progress through in order to feel comfortable speaking up and making valuable contributions:

  • Stage 1: Inclusion Safety, where team members feel safe and accepted to be who they are.

  • Stage 2: Learner Safety, where team members feel safe to ask questions, learn, experiment, and make mistakes.

  • Stage 3: Contributor Safety, where team members feel safe to contribute using their skills and gifts.

  • Stage 4: Challenger Safety, where team members feel safe enough to challenge the status quo and suggest changes or improvements.

How to foster psychological safety in your workplace

Leaders must prioritise psychological safety in the workplace to create high-performing teams. However, creating a psychologically safe work environment requires coaching and behaviour change at both the individual and organisational levels. Leaders must consistently model inclusive behaviours to build new team norms over time. Failure to establish and support psychologically safe team environments can cause negative consequences and damage to the business.


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