Psychological Safety an Impossible Construct

Sorry, but I have to speak up and say that the #psychologicalsafety that professor Edmondson is describing seems to me to be an impossible social construct.

E.g., “Psychological safety, which is the ability to speak up without the risk of punishment or humiliation.”

In my view, there is and will always be this risk of punishment or humiliation when we speak up. So, instead of trying to attain some impossible construct, why don’t we explore what or who is causing us not to speak up and tackle the actual problem?

When we speak up, at times, we will be:

  • Talked down to
  •  Ignored or
  •  Gossiped about

It’s our human and social nature to err, and these missteps will be made, on occasion, by us all, I believe.

I think the safety needed for us to speak up will be achieved when there is a suite of tools available to teams that allows us to hold each other to account when such misbehavior occurs.

Tools such as using an agreed intervention when infractions arise and a safety review network for any recalcitrants.

I hypothesize that having these security tools to tackle the misbehavior that occurs when we speak up, will allow us to share our thoughts, no matter how radical or unconventional, they may seem to be, to some or most of us.

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