Psychological Safety - Building trust in a collaborative environment

Why TrustSphere leads to Quality?

Developing psychological safety is essential for building a collaborative team and fostering trust in leadership, which ultimately leads to a better quality of life.

Psychological safety is not just a concept; it's the cornerstone of courageous cultures where individuals are empowered to share their true selves, fostering innovation, collaboration, and sustained excellence.

- Amy Edmondson

TrustSphere Blueprint:

In any organization, it's crucial to establish a strong network of trust, empathy, and open communication among team members to create a resilient, psychologically safe environment, called TrustSphere in the QualityPMO Methodology. This network serves as the foundation for fostering Psychological Safety, which is essential for collaborative excellence. To help you build and nurture a TrustSphere within your team or organization, we've put together a brief guide that outlines the key principles and actionable steps you can take. By creating a culture of trust and empowering your teams, you can unlock the full potential of Human and Organizational Performance.


In engagements with consulting clients, a critical inquiry emerges for change managers and leaders: "Is there a recognition of the essential need to cultivate heightened Psychological Safety within your team?" Frequently met with an unequivocal "Yes," the subsequent challenge lies in exploring concrete and practical methodologies to enhance Psychological Safety within the team tangibly.

As recommended by the Collaborative Management for Business Activities (CMBA) Methodology, here are some recommendations on how to frame the importance of Psychological Safety within your organizational dynamics. Emphasize the need for actionable strategies to truly implement this concept.

QPMO Strategies for Building the TrustSphere:

The following examples are lessons learned from a recent webinar by Dr. Jake Mazulewicz, the Director of JMA Human Reliability Strategies.

  1. Language Transformation:
    • Initiate a friendly and professional language transformation within the team by suggesting specific and practical actions to shift mindsets. Encourage a thorough examination, prompting each team member to identify and replace 3-5 phrases that might compromise Psychological Safety. For instance, instead of using a vague phrase like "We'll investigate," advocate for a more specific and constructive approach such as "We'll debrief (or conduct an After Action Review)." This not only enhances the professional tone but also fosters a friendly atmosphere conducive to open communication and continuous improvement.
  2. Reframing Perceptions:
    • Challenge conventional language norms strategically in team communications, replacing potentially accusatory statements like "There was a violation" with alternatives such as "I observed something unexpected." This nuanced shift not only reframes perceptions but aligns with strategic thinking, fostering an environment conducive to open, non-threatening dialogue. Embrace accountability-centric expressions, infusing negotiation-focused dialogues that encourage diverse perspectives. This self-oriented approach prompts individual reflection, contributing to a culture where language serves as a powerful tool for inclusive and collaborative interactions.
  3. Cultivating Expectations:
    • Promote a stakeholder-centric shift from the critical tone of "What they should have done was..." to a more collaborative "What I expected them to do was..." This approach not only aligns with a forward-looking and solution-oriented mindset but also integrates a process-based perspective. By cultivating expectations through a lens of experimentation and continuous improvement, the team becomes dynamically attuned to evolving stakeholder needs and strategic objectives. This multifaceted approach fosters adaptability and enhances the overall effectiveness of the team.
  4. Welcoming Confrontations:
    • Fostering a culture of growth and innovation involves recognizing the value of healthy conflicts as catalysts for learning and development. Establish a culture that actively welcomes constructive confrontations, encouraging diverse perspectives and sparking innovative thinking. Emphasize conflicts as opportunities to understand differing viewpoints, contributing to a continuous learning culture within the team. This approach enhances the team's resilience and adaptability, transforming conflicts into valuable learning experiences and instilling a Quality Mindset.

By encompassing these four pillars—language transformation, reframing perceptions, cultivating expectations, and welcoming confrontations—teams can proactively build and sustain Psychological Safety. This multifaceted approach not only addresses language nuances but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement, collaboration, and resilience within the team.


Embark on a journey to proactively construct sustainable Psychological Safety with a holistic strategy, cultivating a Quality Culture characterized by continuous improvement, collaboration, and resilience within the team. The approach comprises two pivotal elements—Collaborator Safety and Inclusion Safety.

Collaborator Safety: Engage in ongoing interactions and dialogues that foster an environment of open communication and constructive debates. Encourage the team to express ideas freely, challenging the status quo while maintaining professionalism and kindness when exposing problems. Uphold a mindful and practical approach to speaking up, laying the groundwork for a collaborative and agile atmosphere.

Inclusion Safety: Value the diverse intelligence each team member brings, recognizing the significance of every opinion. Uphold equality, irrespective of titles or positions, and hold everyone accountable to shared values. Infuse interactions with empathy, fostering sustainable agility within the team. This multifaceted strategy lays the foundation for a workplace culture where Psychological Safety thrives, and a Quality Mindset propels the team towards excellence.

Cautionary Note:

  • Acknowledge the potency of this linguistic tool, comparing it to a Jedi Mind Trick. Caution against misuse and invoke a reflective question: "Would Obi-Wan approve?" This injects a touch of humor while underscoring the responsibility that comes with wielding such influential strategies.

Unveiling the Power of Psychological Safety in Organizational Dynamics

Psychological Safety is a transformative force within the dynamics of an organization that reshapes the way teams collaborate, innovate, and thrive. It is a shared belief within a team that the environment is safe for interpersonal risk-taking without fear of any negative consequences. This concept goes beyond simply being accepted and focuses on encouraging individuals to express their true selves. As we explore this concept, we will delve into its profound implications on human and organizational performance.

  • The Foundation of Trust: At the heart of Psychological Safety lies the foundation of trust. Trust flourishes when individuals feel secure in expressing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Amy Edmondson, a trailblazer in this domain, defines Psychological Safety as the bedrock upon which innovative and fearless organizations stand. In her seminal work, "The Fearless Organization," Edmondson unveils the importance of creating an environment where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities rather than grounds for blame.


  • Nurturing a Culture of Inclusivity: Psychological Safety allows for the free flow of ideas and fosters a culture of inclusivity. It goes beyond merely tolerating diversity to actively embracing and seeking diverse perspectives. In the spirit of "Work Rules!" by Laszlo Bock, former SVP of People Operations at Google, we explore how Google's Project Aristotle identified cultivating a psychologically safe environment as the key factor in high-performing teams.


  • Language as a Catalyst for Change: A practical avenue to cultivate Psychological Safety lies in the transformative power of language. By recognizing and altering the phrases that might threaten Psychological Safety, as suggested here, teams can initiate a profound shift. This language transformation, akin to a Jedi Mind Trick, becomes a tool for change, empowering individuals to communicate with empathy and openness.

Building Your TrustSphere: We introduce a concept called "TrustSphere" to make the abstract idea of Psychological Safety more concrete. TrustSphere is a complex network of trust, empathy, and open communication that serves as a blueprint for fostering Psychological Safety. Drawing inspiration from the fields of emotional intelligence and mindfulness, we explain practical steps to not only establish but also maintain and strengthen a resilient TrustSphere within your team and overall organization.

The Future of Work for Human and Organizational Performance: In the pursuit of Psychological Safety, the WQM approach aims to usher in a new era of Human and Organizational Performance. By integrating the principles of Psychological Safety into the QualityPMO framework, we can envision workplaces where individuals feel empowered, valued, and motivated to contribute their best, as suggested in the CMBA methodology. This journey is not just about cultivating a culture of excellence, but also about igniting a positive ripple effect that extends far beyond the workplace, shaping the very future of work itself.

In conclusion, the power of Psychological Safety lies not only in its conceptual elegance but in its tangible impact on how we work, innovate, and collaborate. Let this exploration serve as a guide, encouraging leaders, teams, and organizations to embrace and harness the transformative potential of Psychological Safety for a future where excellence, empathy, and innovation converge.

Psychological safety is a crucial aspect of Human and Organizational Performance, promoting an environment where individuals feel comfortable taking interpersonal risks without fear of negative consequences. Here's a brief overview with references from thought leaders and recommended books:

Definition and Importance:

  • Psychological safety refers to a shared belief within a team that it is safe to take interpersonal risks without fear of punishment or reprisal.
  • Amy Edmondson, a Harvard Business School professor, is a key thought leader in this area. Her work, especially the book "The Fearless Organization," delves into the importance of psychological safety in fostering innovation and collaboration.

Key Concepts and Practices:

  • Google's Project Aristotle identified psychological safety as the key factor for high-performing teams. The study is detailed in the book "Work Rules!" by Laszlo Bock, former SVP of People Operations at Google.
  • Patrick Lencioni's "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" emphasizes trust as a foundational element, closely related to psychological safety.

Implementing Psychological Safety:

  • "Radical Candor" by Kim Scott explores the concept of caring personally and challenging directly, creating an environment where feedback is constructive rather than personal.
  • Charles Duhigg's "The Power of Habit" discusses how small changes in behavior can lead to a culture of safety over time.


Action List:

  1. Consider initiating team discussions on psychological safety using Edmondson's principles.
  2. Encourage the application of "Work Rules!" principles to enhance team dynamics.
  3. Explore Lencioni's team-building exercises to strengthen trust within your team.
  4. Implement strategies from "Radical Candor" for fostering open and honest communication.
  5. Promote habits aligned with a culture of psychological safety using insights from "The Power of Habit."

This comprehensive approach, drawing from thought leaders and practical guides, can help integrate psychological safety into your QualityPMO framework for improved Human and Organizational Performance.

Professional Managers are Quality Experts

For improved organizational performance, the TrustSphere is our blueprint for Psychological Safety—a sanctuary where trust thrives, collaboration blooms, and individuals are empowered to contribute their best. It's more than a concept; it's the architecture of excellence, shaping the future of Human and Organizational Performance focused on “Quality Culture”!

Dr. Emari, PMP

Dr. Jake
Dr. Kathleen
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