What Are the 4 Stages of Psychological Safety?


Teamwork and trust go together like peanut butter and jelly. Without trust, your team cannot succeed. It is that simple.

Studies reveal that high-performing teams have one thing in common. They all possess psychological safety.

What is psychological safety? It is a vital ingredient for progress. It empowers team members to speak freely and improve upon processes without fear.

Psychological safety occurs in four stages. Let’s explore what they are and how to achieve each stage.

Stage One: Inclusion

Psychological safety in the workplace makes employees feel connected. Each member of your team needs to have a sense of belonging in order to perform.

Why is inclusion necessary? Acceptance leads to a sense of fulfillment. It boosts confidence and independence. Inclusion makes employees feel valued.

As for business leaders, inclusion helps organizations retain talent.

Depriving employees of inclusion is debilitating. It makes workers feel rejected and belittled. It may encourage employees to leave the company.

Stage Two: Learner Safety

The next stage focuses on fueling growth and learning among your employees.

Learner safety ensures all workers feel safe to speak up. It encourages participation in the learning processes. Employees feel confident:

  • Asking questions
  • Making mistakes
  • Experimenting
  • Giving feedback

Without enforcing learner safety, team members may feel vulnerable when speaking up.

They may feel less likely to take risks. Fewer risks lead to less progress. Without learner safety, employees cannot embrace the learning process. Instead, they resent it.

Learner safety paves the way for psychological safety at work. It encourages learning and growth among employees, which enables the organization to thrive.

Stage Three: Contributor Safety

Humans want to participate. We like making a difference. Contributor safety encourages all workers to become contributing members of the team.

Micromanaging prevents contributor safety. It does not allow workers to reach their potential. Good leaders give team members the freedom to grow. They draw out their employees’ best efforts.

What happens when you enforce contributor safety in the workplace? Employees flourish.

Team members apply new knowledge to create meaningful offerings. Contributions increase confidence and enhance employee satisfaction. Contributor safety is empowering and gratifying.

Stage Four: Challenger Safety

The last stage of psychological safety is challenger safety. It gives employees the opportunity to make meaningful improvements.

Challenger safety makes workers feel comfortable:

  • Questioning processes
  • Making suggestions for improvement
  • Disagreeing (respectfully)
  • Challenging the status quo

Challenger safety is when employees can do these things without fearing consequences.

Questioning processes sparks conversation. Conversation ignites operational changes. Operational changes improve efficiencies. Improved efficiencies create a more profitable business.

Now that you understand the four stages, consider obtaining a certificate in psychological health and safety in the workplace.

Psychological Safety & More FTP Content

Psychological safety enables trust. Trust is the foundation of a strong team and a well-run organization.

Make it a point to enforce psychological safety in your company. Empower your workers to learn, grow, and make improvements. The results will speak for themselves.

So, now you understand the psychological safety definition and its four stages. But why stop there?

Continue exploring our blog for more expert-written articles.