Psychological Safety is characterised as the individual and group perception of the consequences to be faced in identifying deficient individual or group performance.
Psychological Safety is both a product and predictor of Organisational Culture, and has the potential to make or break an organisation.
To achieve improved performance, employees must feel empowered to identify deficient performance: Employees must feel they can identify deficiencies without fear of negative repercussions.
This psychologically safe environment enables the development of a learning culture, where individuals, and the organisation as a whole, do not seek to assign blame for deficiencies, but see the identification of deficiencies as opportunities to learn and improve performance.
Where there is an absence of Psychological Safety, employees will often remain silent in the face of deficiencies, perpetuating the cycle of deficient performance.
Enhanced Psychological Safety is the product of a positive Organisational culture, where employee input is desired, encouraged and valued, and where the entire organisation feels empowered to raise concerns without fear of retribution.
Enhanced Psychological Safety is also a predictor of a positive Organisational Culture, because it reinforces trust in leadership and develops belief in the way the organisation operates.
There is a caveat though.
Whilst there is no doubt that Psychological Safety is essential for a business organisation to improve, there must be a parallel belief in the utility of the Management System, as this belief will restrain unmitigated risk-taking by individuals who feel sufficiently empowered to do so.