Is your team COVID ready? Psychological safety is key

As of today, the WA borders still plan to open on February 5th.  There is a lot of debate within the community and industry sectors whether we are ready?  Will be ever be totally ready for what’s about to creep (or pour) into our lives. Just like with our first taste of COVID early in 2020, there is once again fear, unrest and curiosity about what it’s going to mean for us all.   And all the associated behaviours from these feelings and emotions will start to emerge. Leaders and workplaces will face yet another challenge; helping their people to navigate this minefield of emotions and behaviours and the flow on impact on organisational progress. How can you help your staff feel safe to come to work, safe to express their feelings about the world, safe to take risks, safe to speak up and safe to trust leadership decisions?

We will all need to have an engaged, resilient and healthy workforce if are going to survive the pandemic and the constant change that’s about to erupt.

Psychological safety is key

Psychological safety is being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career (Kahn 1990). Psychological safety is showing up more regularly in critical leadership discussions across the globe as we move into a more people-focused and compassionate way of leading.

Current research shows a strong correlation between psychological safety and workplace performance.  If you and your team feel safe, it shows up in behaviours.

A quick chat at a pre-start meeting or a hallway thumbs up is not enough to check-in on the psychological safety of your team.  Managers, supervisors and leaders need to develop strategies to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all staff.  Thus producing a happier, more engaged and resilient workforce.

We know the pressures and the impact it had on our mental health last time COVID came to town. Well, I don’t think it’s going to be a short visit this time around and the impact of uncertainty, fear, sickness, staff shortages and high absenteeism is going to take it’s toll on everyone in WA. Our wellness and psychological safety are going to have to play centre stage if we are going to survive and thrive.

Look out for these behaviours below
It may mean your key people do not feel safe

  • Those who have low trust in everything and everyone around them
  • Being risk averse
  • Looking for anyone or anything to blame
  • Not speaking up – keeping quiet
  • Defensive and rejective to new ideas and suggestions
  • Decreased self-efficacy (self belief in their abilities)
  • Having more difficulty handling stress or pressure
  • Low resiliency – longer times to get over mistakes or challenges
  • Absent from work, meetings and other workplace activities (even on-line)
  • Disengaged in work activities and relationships

You don’t have to be in a leadership role to recognise ‘unsafe’ and remember to call out any behaviours that make other feel unsafe in challenging times.  The more we support each other top up and top down, (remember our leaders are human too) the better and safer it will be for everyone.

If you need help to communicate and educate in leadership behaviour and communication reach out. We have a range of masterclasses and coaching solutions to help your key people to navigate the future of work.