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Psychological Safety

Hans Koenderink | 3 februari 2021

strong>Without authenticity no trust, without trust no boldness, without boldness no connectedness and without connectedness no diversity!

These prerequisites are the foundation for many successful companies and these ingredients are the base for ‘Psychological safety’ the most recent book from Hans van der Loo and Joriene Beks.

The book is ‘to the point’ and practical around the often underestimated understanding of a climate in which people dare to take interpersonal challenges. Next to the role of the individual, the essentials and behaviour of the group will give meaning to psychological safety.

Consecutively the authors describe the secrets of winning teams, scientific literature, numerical statistics, energy vampires before they finish off with their approach and change formula to transform teams and organisations into so called ‘safe zones’ for all. An interesting journey from thinking and daring into doing!

Van der Loo and Beks enable the reader on this ‘adventurous journey’ via acknowledging fears and emotions, preoccupations and facts to unravel the most important fact from successful team: the concept of psychological safety.

Both authors admit that this concept needs a substantial input of emotional intelligence to understand this ‘iceberg’ in its total size before you can start working with the concept.

Everyone is familiar with the meeting in which proposals are accepted without an active commitment of the participants. The group easily ‘adapts’ to the opinion of the majority without open discussion what they really think. The lack of a ‘shield’ to protect yourself (psychological safety) could be a cause for this behaviour acknowledging that this ‘shield’ is based on personal- and team competencies or capacities to create a climate in which people dare to take interpersonal risks. This ‘psychological safe climate’ can be created on the base of three inter depending ingredients: trust, boldness and the drive to make the difference.

The Big Five relates to five dimensions and their connected effects of psychological safety: inclusion, discussing mistakes, participation and commitment, creativity and positivity.

Therefore it comes at no surprise that a psychological safe environment will result in an inclusive and safer environment, as a base for a safe team, via an authentic application of The Big Five.

On our journey we will meet ‘energy vampires’ who will use all their negative powers to undermine your intend to achieve your attempt to create psychological safety. Fear, distrust, scepticism, perceptions and speculations to name a few. Van der Loo and Beks confront and analyse them one by one.

The schematics around the logic of psychological unsafety is a very useful model clarifying the interdependency between ingredients and effects.

The pleasant journey to psychological safety describes in a very clear and compact way how everyone can contribute on the creation of the right climate. This might not be an easy way and it requires permanent maintenance from the individual and the collective. Van der Loo and Beks guide and support the reader in a very engaging way into a energetic part of team building which requires an active attitude and aptitude from both management and employees. This book is a wonderful opportunity for every manager and employee to offer each other and the team psychological safety next to the ‘daily’ challenges and connection. Stay safe!!

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