White Paper

Looking at
Safety Through
an Equity Lens

How do leaders build psychological safetyon diverse teams?

If you want to fully unlock the benefits of psychological safety, you need to understand how to address different needs for different people.

As organizations strive to create psychological safety for everyone, team members experience different levels of psychological safety because of who we are and how we relate to each other.

In this paper, we look at how structural and social barriers  hinder individual experiences of psychological safety, and share a tool to help leaders and teams better understand how invisible power dynamics impact the team’s potential.

Our goal is to help you create conscious practices for building equitable psychological safety across the spectrum of lived experience within your teams.

Covered in this report:

  • Understand the critical relationship between diversity and psychological safety
  • Learn the situational, cultural, and societal influences on psychological safety
  • Map how these factors influence your own experience of psychological safety, and better understand your teammates' experiences

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Featured Perspectives
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While diversity of backgrounds is generally a requirement for breakthrough performance, particularly when seeking innovation, it is rarely sufficient. Diverse teams need the lubricant of psychological safety to ensure that their members ask questions and share ideas. Leaders, and other team members, play a crucial role in nurturing psychological safety through framing, inquiry skills, and a capacity to step in to bridge different perspectives. When this happens, teams stand to gain more than just performance benefits.

- Amy C. Edmondson
Author and Professor of Leadership and Management
at the Harvard Business School
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Inclusion is something we all want, but it can be difficult to put into practice. Psychological safety is an important concept with practical strategies to enact culture where people are invited in and valued. Using a DEl lens offers the additional perspective needed to deliver psychological safety that not only produces better outcomes, but unleashes the power of a diverse workforce or team.

- Lori Nishiura Mackenzie
Lead Strategist, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
at Stanford Graduate School of Business