Safety in any workplace, whether corporate or academic, is not achieved by just providing students, faculty and staff with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to conduct their research or work safely. Creating safety in the workplace also includes intentionally crafting a psychologically safe environment where individuals feel they can speak up, express their concerns, and be heard. The author of “The Fearless Organization” describes how the culture of psychological safety is evident when individuals can voice half-finished thoughts, are willing to admit lack of knowledge, listen humbly, and engage in dynamic dialogue to learn and adopt what is best for students, faculty, and staff.
The author notes, “As organizations seek to convert diversity into inclusion and belonging, psychological safety is increasingly important. Without psychological safety, diversity does not automatically mean people can bring their full selves to the work.” Thus, you can think of psychological safety as the PPE for a diverse and inclusive workplace. The difference here is that the entire group provides protection rather than requiring each individual to protect themselves.
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