Psychological Safety at Work – World Mental Health Day

  • Thought Leadership
  • Posted by Giles Farmer
  • 4 min read

This year, i&e Professionals have teamed up with Liza Collins, NHS Change Manager and Psychological Safety at Work Specialist, to celebrate and raise awareness of World Mental Health Day. Our purpose as a business is to positively contribute to making the healthcare system better for all those involved. We believe that a positive and thriving culture can be the platform for solving some of the broader challenges we face.

The focus of this article is on how leaders can create safe psychological spaces for their teams at work.

Liza Collins, NHS Change Manager and Psychological Safety at Work Specialist suggests leaders proactively set this up to support their teams’ mental health and wellbeing.  It’s good practice to establish a healthy team culture and essential during times of high stress and challenging deadlines.

As leaders, how can we create safe psychosocial spaces for our teams at work, so the whole team thrives whilst delivering a heavy load. Is it even possible? The answer is yes, and it’s not as hard as you think. For some leaders they create this environment naturally but for others it may be a new muscle that they need to work on strengthening. However, once it’s become part of their leadership toolkit, they’ll never look back.

Liza’s tips are practical, ‘tried and tested’ and work.

Top tips:

  1. Openly say what you are creating and why – tell your staff often and especially new starters that you create a safe psychological space for your team to work in, because it provides a safe environment for people to show up, speak up and challenge each other from a place of kindness and respect, and mean it.

  2. Walk the talk – mean what you say in point 1 and demonstrate it daily.

  3. Share power – be comfortable with sharing power, hierarchy has its place, but if you are truly comfortable in your skin as a leader then demonstrate this to your team and share some of that power and help develop your team.

  4. Be open to feedback – ask for it weekly, challenge your team to always think of ways you can improve or deliver things better. Ask, even when it feels uncomfortable.

  5. Be Kind – it’s a simple one, be kind and compassionate to each other. It’s important and if you can become trauma informed trained, even better – you’ll never regret the training.

  6. Encourage your staff to challenge you – Nominate a team member each week to play devil’s advocate – and to look out for and say out loud, what are we doing right and what are we doing wrong. It will be good for their development and yours.

  7. Encourage healthy debate – if it is a safe space, all members of the team will engage in debate and friendly challenge.  sn’t there a saying… be wary when your team go silent.

  8. Look who’s talking – Who does all the talking in meetings? Is it you?  Share the chair, power, and voice. We can tune out when we hear the same voice at meetings, switch it up.

  9. Reflective practice – Every leader can create time once a month to spend an hour with your team and invite them to share their reflections, how are they doing, what’s working what isn’t – this is a very open process with no right or wrong or even providing solutions. It’s a space to be open and share what is on your mind. Try handing this over to someone in your team to facilitate (or bring in an external facilitator) who find holding a safe sharing space easy and you can kick back and participate. It’s not only good for everyone’s mental health but equally good for the soul.

  10. Lean in – when it looks like a member of your team is struggling or has gone silent, lean in and ask them if they are ok – they will always appreciate being asked even if they don’t want to share.


Thrive LDN have a free resource to Trauma Informed Training here


Liza Collins, NHS Change Manager and Psychological Safety at Work Specialist

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