Psychological Safety

Psychological safety is the ability to take risks, speak up, work creatively and innovatively, and generally be able to be authentic in the workplace without fear of reprisal, discrimination or retaliation. Boston University professor William A. Kahn originally defined the term in 1990 as “being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career.” Since then, Harvard professor Amy Edmondson has popularized the concept as “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.” Research by Edmondson and others has found that psychological safety is critical to a successful team and organization.

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