Human Performance, Performance | Mar 17, 2021
Welcome to Psychological Safety: The Origins, Reality and Shelf Life of an Evolving High Performance Concept.

In recent years, it has been remarkable to witness how the concept of psychological safety – a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking – has come to prominence in high performance environments, where the stakes are high and the consequences of results often profound.

At Keiser, we know how important it is for athletes to have confidence in their skills, speed and power. There must not only be a method but a reason behind every exercise and a direct impact on performance.

Often, those outcomes are tangible and therefore measurable. When it comes to psychological safety, however, just like all those so-called softer skills that we know make a difference, things are not quite so obvious.

We may well understand the benefits of psychological safety – athletes who are comfortable admitting mistakes, a shared willingness and desire to learn from failure, an environment where everyone openly shares ideas and, ultimately, better innovation and decision making – but how do we reach that point in our organisations?

Matters are further complicated by the fact that what makes one athlete feel safe will not necessarily apply to another.

When it comes down to it, no one will have a better idea than the leaders who work with athletes day in day out and this Special Report is designed to give you the tools to identify, check and develop the levels of psychological safety within your teams.

We begin by defining psychological safety, explaining its place in sport, and suggesting ways you can begin to establish greater levels of psychological safety within your environment. The focus then turns to leaders and how people in positions of influence can work to reduce perceptions of their power. Then, we highlight seven key considerations when looking to strengthen the psychological safety of your playing group. Finally, we look ahead and ponder what psychological safety might look like at the team of the future.

No doubt many of you have made considerable progress in this field, but we hope you’ll find one or two nuggets to further support your athletes in your pursuit of ever greater levels of performance.

Stay safe and well.

Ty Sevin, Director of Human Performance, Education and Research, Keiser


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