Dr. Bill Howatt talks about Psychologically Safe Leadership

March 21, 2022

Mental health issues are on the rise and the need for psychologically safe leadership is paramount. Learn about UNB's Certificate in Psychologically Safe Leadership and become a better leader.

Video Transcript

What is Psychologically Safe Leadership?

Dr. Bill Howatt: The role of a psychological safe leader is to help create psychologically safe workplaces where employees want to come to work. They create a place where employees feel safe to share their thinking, their ideas--without any fear of reprisal or to be judged or evaluated in a way that could be detrimental to their career.

Why is Psychologically Safe Leadership important?

Why psychological safe leaders are important is that they are a protective factor in facilitating the employee experience. Perhaps there is no more important relationship for a worker is their manager/employee relationship. So when employees can feel safe working with their direct leaders, that can be a source of resiliency that can help charge their batteries and help them come to work because they want to versus feeling they have to. And there is the old saying that up to 70% of employees leave their roles because of the manager/employee relationship. So securing those relationships, it is critical for retaining a sustainable workforce as well. It also helps leaders maximize their opportunity experience as well. It's a lot easier to work with people who feel safe, engaged and comfortable with the leader than a leader who's feeling they're always pushing and grinding. So there's a benefit for the worker and there is a benefit for the leader as well. And obviously the organization.

What is gained by incorporating Psychologically Safe Leadership in the workplace?

Dr. Bill Howatt: What is gained by incorporating psychological safe leadership into a workplace is creating a standard and an expectation for how managers will facilitate the employee experience. Psychological safe leadership is not intuitive, it's a trainable skill like resilience or any other type of skill that allows people to develop the habits that can strengthen an organization's opportunity for success. Leaders can help strengthen the workers' experience by being a protective factor that can add to worker resiliency, which can assist in protecting workers from mental harm and mental injuries. That can increase the organization's opportunity for maximizing productivity through its people and to mitigate risk to mental harm that can result in disability and other things that can be draining organizations or turnover. So there's a lot of positives for creating psychological safe leaders and we know in the literature in the United States for example, says that 10% of all healthcare costs are attributed to the manager/employee relationship. We're starting to learn more and more how important this relationship is and the purpose of this idea of giving leaders psychological safe leadership skills is to facilitate organization's ability to create cultures where employees want to come to work, and when they come to work they have the support by leaders with the tools to help them thrive and to flourish.

Who should take the Psychologically Safe Leadership Certificate program?

In our view, it's anybody who's a people leader, anybody that has direct reports, whether you're a frontline leader, a middle leader or a senior leader, you will benefit from getting insights on what is a psychological safe workplace and what organizations can do to facilitate that, understanding how your role and your how you show up can play a big role in creating the employee experience, as well as the types of micro skills and things you can do to facilitate a psychological safe secure relationship with direct reports.

Everyday 3.7 million Canadians experience unhealthy levels of stress in the workplace.

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