The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety

By Timothy R. Clark

The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety book cover
Added April 16, 2021

This is the first practical, hands-on guide that shows how leaders can build psychological safety in their organization, creating an environment where employees feel fully engaged and encouraged to contribute their best ideas. Fear has a profoundly negative impact on engagement, learning efficacy, productivity, and innovation, but until now there has been a lack of practical information on how to make employees feel safe about speaking up and contributing. Timothy Clark, a social scientist and an organizational consultant, provides a framework to move people through successive stages of psychological safety. The first stage is member safety--the team accepts you and grants you shared identity. Learner safety, the second stage, indicates that you feel safe to ask questions, experiment, and even make mistakes. Next is the third stage of contributor safety, where you feel comfortable participating as an active and full-fledged member of the team. Finally, the fourth stage of challenger safety allows you to take on the status quo without repercussion, reprisal, or the risk of tarnishing your personal standing and reputation. This is a blueprint for how any leader can build positive, supportive, and encouraging cultures in any setting.

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