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Secure Attachment Gives Rise To Psychological Safety

Written by: Nad Philips, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Nad philips

The relationship comes first. There is a lot of hype around psychological safety and some outrageous claims as if you could act on this one construct independently. Psychological safety is not just about allowing people to have a voice without risk or speaking their minds without concern. The quality of the relationship and how healthy it is will create a level of trust that will give rise to psychological safety.

man standing in front of group of people speaking

You get then into a reinforcing virtuous cycle whereby people voice concerns, show their vulnerabilities, and expose their divide. The quality of the relationship and the strength of their bonds enables them to engage in a dialogue to iron out the issues and find a solution. This leads to establishing house rules and a modus operandi. This means that the relationship is governed, regulated, and reinforced through learning and collective intelligence.

So, the process of voicing, problem-solving, norming, regulating, and reinforcing through learning is enabled by psychological safety, trust, and building high-quality relationships.

If you introduce the notion of everyone speaks their mind freely in an environment with high rivalry and low trust you will create havoc. Simply because the quality of the relationships does not allow it.

I live in France where the relationship between management and employees and especially the representatives of the unions is very poor in several companies. In these companies, there is no restraint, people say whatever they want whenever they want, but there is no ounce of psychological safety. There is ample distrust and a very weak relationship based on indifference if not despise.

In a recent study of 1000 workers, Michelle McQuaid found the benefits of a culture of safety and care. This includes a buffering effect against psychosocial hazards which includes some staples around exhaustion, inefficacy, and cynicism:

  1. Lack of role clarity

  2. Poor change management

  3. Inadequate reward and recognition

  4. Poor supervisor’s support

  5. Low job control,

  6. Isolated work

  7. Unachievable work demands.

While those psychosocial risk factors are the main reasons for those who report experiencing episodes of burn-out; it seems that it’s less the case in workplaces with real psychological safety (26% vs 59% say they experience burn-out).

Go back to basics and start working on creating healthy and secure relationships. Yes, it helps if you love people!

Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Nad philips Brainz Magazine

Nad Philips, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Nad is an adult learning and development, global consultant. He specializes in helping teams design prosocial relationships and become future fit. Prior to coaching Nad served as European VP and MD France for a Fortune 500 company. He was an honorary professor with ESSEC Business school. Nad also launched several startups in Europe. He is an Amazon best-selling author and lives in Paris, France.



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