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Psychological Safety

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Psychological safety is "a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes" (Amy Edmondson, 1999). High psychological safety opens the door for an inclusive, effective, and high performing environment.

It is the cornerstone of creating a positive culture that allows each person to achieve what matters most to them. This could be:

  • Feeling welcome to try a new sport
  • Making social connections
  • Having opportunities to participate just for fun
  • Competing at a local level
  • Striving for excellence and success in international competition

The ways of creating of psychological safety are the same in sport and recreation as they are in the workplace:

  • Frame the work as a learning problem, not an execution problem - we need everyone's minds and voices to help us learn
  • Acknowledge your own fallibility - this opens the door for other people to talk
  • Model curiousity - ask a lot of questions

For a short TED talk about psychological safety by Amy Edmonson, click here: 

Once psychological safety is created, people will be in a better position to talk about other issues such as giving true consent for necessary touching, mental health and illness, and concerns about physical safety, as well as ideas they have for improving their experience or performance.