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To succeed in the future of work, innovation and trust are essential, and that means employees need to feel psychologically safe. Otherwise, how could they be comfortable raising questions and ideas that are bound to shake the status quo?

Understanding the need for psychological safety is one thing. Creating it is something else. While it takes time to build an environment where all individuals feel encouraged and willing to take risks, Emergenetics® Associates have an advantage in helping staff ascend the four stages of psychological safety.

If you are interested in creating a culture where employees know that they will not be punished for making mistakes or asking questions – and in fact will be celebrated for sharing their ideas – I invite you to explore your Emergenetics toolbox.

Apply Emergenetics to Build Trust

In his book The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation, Dr. Timothy Clark describes four building blocks that people must progress through:

  • Stage 1: Inclusion Safety – Where individuals experience a sense of belonging and acceptance.
  • Stage 2: Learner Safety – Where staff are comfortable learning, making mistakes and exchanging feedback.
  • Stage 3: Contributor Safety – Where employees feel confident in using their skills to make a difference.
  • Stage 4: Challenger Safety – Where people know they can speak up when they see an issue or an opportunity for change.

To support your staff in their journey through each stage, consider integrating the following Emergenetics applications.

Stage 1: Inclusion Safety

In addition to hosting a Meeting of the Minds or a Team Dynamics for Small Groups workshop, our 3-2-1 activity as well as the Thinking Attribute Walkabout and the Behavioral Lineups can help departments and project teams improve inclusion safety. Through the 3-2-1 activity, individuals gain greater insights into their Profiles and describe how they contribute positively to group dynamics, which can promote a sense of belonging. Using the Thinking Attribute Walkabout and Behavioral Lineups, ask staff to discuss the strengths of each preference and the value their perspectives bring to the group to increase understanding and respect for each person’s preferred working styles.

Stage 2: Learner Safety

In this stage, individuals begin to experiment, make mistakes and get feedback as they learn and grow. The Attributes in Action Guides, available in Emergenetics+, can support you as you work with individuals, leaders and teams. Specifically, our templates for giving and receiving feedback as well as delivering recognition offer recommendations to empower your staff to share positive input and constructive criticism in a meaningful way. I also invite you to utilize the Platinum Rule worksheet and encourage people to apply the Language of Grace, so they can give feedback in a non-judgmental way and take some of the fear out of failure.

Stage 3: Contributor Safety

The Dot Graph and WEteam Reports provide avenues to motivate staff members to use their individual skills and insights to make a difference. Using the Dot Graph, you can call attention to the different Attributes that each team member gravitates toward and emphasize the value that of every voice brings to the group. By integrating WEteam Reports into your company practices, cognitively diverse groups can become project teams, so that diverse perspectives can have a positive impact on performance and innovation.

Stage 4: Challenger Safety

As employees reach the fourth stage of psychological safety, encourage them to use the Emergenetics Attributes to suggest improvements. Team members can lean into their preferences when they see an opportunity for change by sharing the Attribute their concern or idea stems from.

In doing so, they clarify their message while helping the person being challenged understand what perspective may have been overlooked. By aligning these sentiments, it also makes the feedback less personal and keeps it focused on the concept rather than the individual.

You can offer these sentence starters to get started:

  • From my Analytical preference, I think we are missing an important data point…
  • My Structural preference is feeling scratchy. Can we discuss the process in more detail…?
  • This input comes from the Social Attribute, and I feel we may be overlooking an important group…
  • My Conceptual preference is running wild, and I have a different idea…
  • I’d like to lean into my first-third Expressiveness and come back with some thoughts later…
  • Can I talk this through with you? It will help my third-third Expressiveness…
  • My first-third Assertiveness wants to find a common solution, so may I raise a few questions?
  • I know this will sound direct, and with my third-third Assertiveness, remember that I welcome debate…
  • My first-third Flexibility is feeling scratchy with the shift in direction. Can you explain why?
  • I know we settled on a decision, and from my third-third Flexibility, I have another consideration I think we should discuss…

Leaning into Emergenetics empowers employees to raise concerns, share brilliant ideas and take judgment out of conversations, which opens many possibilities to build trust within your organization. By helping your employees feel respected and appreciated for who they are – and giving them the verbiage to challenge others in a constructive way – you can create an affirming, psychologically safe environment that inspires innovation.

Discover how you can bring the power of Emergenetics to your organization! Explore our Certification programs or speak with a team member today by filling out the form below.

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