We all know it and we’ve all felt it - the culture of a workplace is fundamental to how we feel about being ‘in work’ and indeed our overall wellbeing. Central to an organisation’s culture, are trust and support. Working within an organisation these days, usually involves being part of a team, ideally one which works well together. Particularly since hybrid or totally remote working has become more common, we must have high levels of trust within our team, to do this well. Trust and collaboration between employees and organisations is, more than ever, imperative.  Employees who are trusted feel valued and work better. It’s a win for the individual and the organisation. 

 Psychological Safety and team success 

 A study by Google of 180 different teams identified that the most successful ones share 5 traits; dependability, structure and clarity, meaning, impact and psychological safety.  Of these 5 traits, psychological safety was found to be the most important. It is not the same as trust, but very closely linked.  Trust is more of a personal experience, for example, trust between two people such as an employee and a leader, whereas psychological safety is experienced within a group.  It is the belief that everyone is free to speak up; voice opinions, take risks and ask questions, all without the risk of judgement.   

 The study indicated that teams with this type of environment have employees who were less likely to leave, more likely to be inspired by the diversity of ideas shared within a group, were rated as more effective by leaders and, overall, were more successful.  

 As individuals, there are three ways we can help increase psychological safety within a team: 

Role model listening - put the emphasis on trying to understand your colleagues, rather than being understood yourself. 

Acknowledge your fallibility - we all make mistakes and that’s OK, but it’s important to acknowledge when it has happened.  

Model curiosity - ask lots of questions! It helps encourage others to do the same and questions spark ideas. 

 Strengthening social relationships and behaviours which build trust 

 Acknowledging those around us, how they think and feel, can have a very positive effect on levels of trust and helps forge bonds.  It demonstrates that you are interested in the wellbeing of others.  You could consider checking in with a colleague after a meeting, ask how they are, and discuss what you noticed during the meeting.  Make time for friends at work, schedule lunch together, or a walk, and talk about how your weeks are going.  Be yourself, after all, there is only one of you!   

 It’s worth proactively seeking feedback, but don’t just ask for it, actively listen, acknowledge what you’ve been told and act upon it.  Consistency is key; stick to your commitments and do what you say you are going to do.  If you are responsible, engaged, genuine and display vulnerability you will be going a long way to foster trust in those around you. 

For more great tips on how to improve your wellbeing, have a listen to our How to be happy at work podcast.