Team members need psychological safety in their workplace in order to perform well. That’s something that all leaders need to know, in order to make their employees feel safe.
It’s the leader’s job to ensure team members feel important, valued, included, and safe, if they want to make sure everyone will perform to the highest standards, make good decisions, communicate well, and be productive.
When individuals feel safe, they don’t have fear of being judged, they feel comfortable asking questions, speaking up, and therefore they do a better job. In high-performing teams, psychological safety is a crucial part of the workplace, and it’s directly linked to team performance and team retention.
If you want to learn more about how leaders can create psychological safety in the workplace for their team, you can read that in this post.
As mentioned, many leaders work on creating a safe environment for their employees.
However, what many leaders and executives don’t think about, is that they need to feel
psychological safety too, in order to be fully productive, effective, and successful.
While thinking about other people’s actions and behavior is necessary when you’re an executive, it’s also very important that you feel safe too, if you want to transfer that feeling onto others.
How psychological safety applies to executive women
As an executive, it’s often your instinct to think about others before thinking about yourself in the workplace – your team is your responsibility, so you act that way. You often feel more stress, since you’re not only responsible for your own work and performance, but you’re responsible for the performance of your whole team.
However, every good team needs a good leader. If you don’t feel safe in your workplace, if you don’t feel comfortable or valued, you can’t transfer that feeling to others.
You yourself won’t be as productive and efficient as you could if you felt psychologically safe. For leaders and executives, it’s a bit harder to ensure they feel safe because they need to make themselves feel safe.
For team members – their leaders will make sure they feel safe. But for the leaders themselves – they have no one to rely on to make them feel protected, so they need to do that themselves, and that’s where many of them fall short. It can be difficult to protect your own safety when you’re focused on others.
As an executive woman, having a safe space where you can feel vulnerable about your thoughts, performance, and even mistakes is crucial to your advancement.
When you feel responsible for others, it can be harder to feel safe around them enough to show your vulnerabilities, but if you do, you will see many benefits.
Feeling safe in your workplace as an executive woman will help you:
- better understand your team members and therefore be a better leader
- make better decisions
- perform better
- work better in high-pressure situations
- take more risks
- be more creative
- grow as a leader
If you’re struggling to ensure your own psychological safety in the workplace, try talking to a mentor, or another executive. Find someone that will help you feel protected.
How psychological safety impacts career advancement
Studies show that positive emotions directly impact a person’s work performance.
Just like team members who feel safe in their workplace perform to their highest standards, executive women also shine when they feel safe.
There are two main ways psychological safety impacts career advancement for executive women.
It impacts their performance
It’s obvious that by performing better, you are more likely to advance in your career.
As we mentioned above, psychological safety directly impacts your behavior. Leaders and executives are crucial parts of every high-performing team.
While every employee is important, the performance of leaders and executives is often more critical, as it entails more risks, more responsibilities, and more pressure. That’s why it’s crucial for leaders and executives to perform to their best abilities.
If feeling safe in the workplace helps you make better decisions, communicate better with your team, and work better in high-pressure situations, it can help you advance quicker in your career, as you’ll be growing as a leader and as a person more quickly.
It makes them a better leader
Another way psychological safety can help advance your career as an executive woman is by making you a better leader.
Employees often read and imitate their leader’s behavior. If the leader is feeling stressed, unsafe, uncomfortable, and afraid to be vulnerable, it transfers to the whole team.
Feeling safe yourself will make others feel safe as well.
You will also be able to understand them better and communicate better. You’ll be able to run ideas by each other without fearing judgment, which will collectively result in a better-performing team.
Finally, feeling safe will help you be a better leader by being secure in your decisions, which is a must for every high-achieving executive.
Being a great leader, understanding your team, and having mutual respect for them, can show your own superiors that you’re doing an amazing job, which will help you advance in your career much quicker.
To sum up, psychological safety is just as important for leaders and executives as it is for their employees and team members. Many leaders fear that by being vulnerable and letting themselves feel safe, they’ll lose authority and won’t be able to guide others well, but it’s actually the very opposite.
Being secure in your thoughts, mistakes, and decisions, automatically make you a better worker and a better leader, which will not only make your team better but will also help you advance in your career as a high-performing and high-achieving leader.
If you’re a woman in a c-suite or senior leadership role wanting to expand your leadership skills so that you can strategically navigate issues related to emotional safety in the workplace, apply for a 30-minute consultation here.
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