Psychological safety and inclusion are critical elements of healthy workplaces.
- Our most core human need is to survive, followed by our need to belong. As a result, high EQ leaders know that they must make safety and inclusion priorities in their organizations. Let's talk about safety. Many of us think that physical safety at work is a given. But workplace violence is surprisingly prevalent. About 16% of workplace deaths are the result of an attack in the workplace. Workplace violence is the third leading cause of death for healthcare workers.
And taxi drivers are 20 times more likely to be murdered on the job than any other worker. Over one quarter, 26%, of workplace homicide victims work in sales or retail, higher than those in protective services at 19% including police officers and security guards. Separate from workplace violence are the threats of being seriously injured or killed on the job through safety accidents, like falls. It's clear that for many, physical safety on the job is a valid and present concern.
But separate from potential harm, our sense of physical safety also depends on keeping our job, as our paycheck is the way we buy food, water and shelter, the essentials of survival. So threatening to fire someone can have nearly the same emotional impact as threatening to hit them, launching a person into the fight or flight response. But perhaps the biggest aspect of safety in today's workplaces is what is called psychological safety. Dr. Amy Edmondson, a professor at the Harvard Business School, coined this term.
She found that across industries, psychological safety is the key element that differentiates the highest performing teams from the rest. Google's global study of its teams found the same result, and they now make psychological safety a cornerstone of their manager training. Many people face not only a lack of psychological safety at work, but they suffer through daily intimidation and fear. 75% of workers have been affected by workplace bullying, either as a target or a witness.
Bullying is abusive conduct that is characterized by regular repetition, ongoing duration, and escalation with increasing aggression. Alarmingly, workplace bullying is four times more common than either sexual harassment or racial discrimination on the job. But psychological safety is not the mere absence of intimidation or harassment. Dr. Edmondson found that it creates the climate for teams to do their best work. She defines psychological safety as a sense of confidence the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.
It is a shared belief that the team is safe for risk taking. It describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves. Watch our course on LinkedIn Learning. It's important to note that psychological safety is not about being universally liked by others, or protected from opinions or beliefs that you find uncomfortable. It's about respecting and trusting people at work, which is about finding value in what they contribute to the group's efforts.
Research also tells us that a sense of belonging and inclusion matters. Did you know that our brain registers exclusion in the same way it registers physical pain? My book, Wired to Connect, is all about the brain science of teams, collaboration, and inclusion. The data is truly astounding. The best leaders seriously focus on creating inclusive environments. If you've not yet invested in programs that enhance belonging, diversity and inclusion, make this your top priority.
You'll reap the rewards of increased employee productivity and engagement, as well as better collaboration, innovation and retention of your top people.
- Analyze the brain science behind emotional intelligence.
- Identify and assess your emotions.
- Determine how to exercise emotional self-control.
- Identify your triggers and how to respond the them.
- Assess how others respond at work.
- Determine how to maximize team performance using emotional intelligence.
- Discover how to catalyze change.