In the workplace, psychological safety refers to employees’ comfort level with speaking up, sharing opinions and showing their true selves without the fear of being judged or reprimanded. You may not have used this exact term before, but when your sales team feels secure and content, they are likely experiencing psychological safety.

Psychological safety is so important in the workplace because it contributes to a collaborative, trusting culture. Your sales reps will feel more comfortable voicing innovative ideas, taking smart risks and sharing their unique skills and talents.

If you want to build a more engaged and effective team, try creating an environment of psychological safety. We share tips from Shana Bosler, the director for coaching, learning and development at Emergenetics International, on how to do this in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Encourage self-awareness. The first step to creating psychological safety in the workplace is to promote self-awareness. Do your sales reps harbor any biases they need to address? Do they typically respond to a challenge in the same way? Bosler says you can promote self-awareness through reviews and assessments.

Show your concern. Bosler recommends that bosses regularly check in with their employees. Get to know what’s going on in their lives and what challenges they may be facing. According to Bosler, this simple action helps employees feel more comfortable speaking up because they know they are valued as individuals—not just for the work they produce.

Pause for input. In your sales meetings, make time for everyone to voice their thoughts or ask questions. Some individuals need more time to form their ideas before voicing them, so train yourself to wait a few moments before moving on to the next item.

Welcome feedback through various channels. Some employees enjoy the back-and-forth discussion in team meetings. Others like to collaborate on Slack or share thoughts through email. Give your sales reps multiple ways to share what’s on their mind.

Thank your team members for their ideas. For employees to feel psychological safety at work, they must know their ideas are welcome. Always show appreciation when your sales reps share their insight. Bosler says this will go a long way in establishing psychological safety.

Use positive words. Bosler points out that cognitive studies have shown how affirmative language can motivate people to succeed. Instead of using “can’t” try replacing it with “have not yet.” And instead of “challenge,” say “opportunity.” These simple wording changes can help your team members tap into a positive mindset and encourage them to speak up.

Set clear expectations. Team members who feel strong psychological safety know what is expected of them. Bosses should strive to share information clearly and accurately to eliminate any confusion. When you set clear expectations, Bosler says you help employees be more open with you.

Discuss failure. Sometimes, things don’t work out. You can promote psychological safety by taking about mistakes and helping your sales reps view them as learning experiences. This will help them feel more comfortable taking risks and speaking up, Bosler notes.

Psychological safety is a key component of a thriving sales team. You can create the kind of environment where everyone feels comfortable and confident speaking up. From promoting self-awareness to reframing your words, there are many ways to create psychological safety on your sales team.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Shana Bosler is the director for coaching, learning and development at Emergenetics International.