As more and more consultants, managers, and other observers of organizational life are talking about psychological safety, the risk of misunderstanding what the concept is all about has intensified. Here are some common misconceptions, along with clarifications.
Psychological safety is not about being nice
Working in a psychologically safe environment does not mean that people always agree with one another for the sake of being nice. It also does not mean that people offer unequivocal praise or unconditional support for everything you have to say. In fact, you could say it’s the opposite. Psychological safety is about candor, about making it possible for productive disagreement and free exchange of ideas. It goes without saying that these are vital to learning and innovation. Conflict inevitably arises in any workplace. Psychological safety enables people on different sides of a conflict to speak candidly about what’s bothering them.
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