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Making Workplaces Emotionally Safe

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

Have you heard about 'psychologically safe' workplaces? I prefer the term 'emotionally safe' workplaces, because it speaks to creating safety for our emotions at work.

Why is this important? Because we're not employing robots (yet!). Our teams are made up of people, and people have emotions. Whether their emotions are from things happening at work, at home, or from any number of other influences on their lives, their emotions can affect their focus and how they work and interact with others.

This can feel frustrating if you are leading a team. However, if you want people to show up at work as their best selves, you need to allow them to show up as their whole selves – complete with emotions and experiences that impact who they are.

Think about it. You would want your team to feel excitement, enthusiasm, and happiness when they achieve work goals or are preparing for the future. Well, those feelings are emotions! So creating safety in your work environment for all emotions – including feelings of frustration, anxiety, or overwhelm - is important.

It takes a lot of energy to try and hide strong feelings, so acknowledging them achieves two important things. First, it saves the energy that would be spent on hiding the emotions, allowing that energy to be used instead on completing work. Second, acknowledging emotions allows for the development of strategies and solutions for what might be causing the emotions in the first place.

Employees today are looking for workplaces that align with their values and support their ability to create better health in their lives. Creating emotional safety in your workplace shows that you value your people as much as you value their output. Valued people tend to stay longer, work more effectively, and create better outcomes. Win / win!

*Authentic content written by Kimberly Lyall, Lighting up Leaders

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