How create Psychological Safety in our training

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This week, we had the pleasure of conversing with Romy Alexandra, a seasoned professional renowned as both a facilitator of learning experiences and an expert in Psychological Safety.

Romy’s journey is a testament to her transformation from dreading all things virtual to a dedicated mission of redefining online events. With a deep understanding of the challenges associated with transitioning from in-person to online, Romy brings a unique perspective that aims to make virtual experiences not just functional but truly impactful and engaging. Romy’s distinctive approach involves infusing psychological safety and a human touch into online team events, creating an environment where teams thrive.

I advise you to listen to her and you’ll understand why she is the Top Facilitation Voice in LInkedIn.

How can we create safe training in our company, considering your expertise in learning experiences and inspiring innovation through psychological safety?

Fostering psychological safety in training requires tangible behaviors. Trainers must authentically role model vulnerability, gradually introduce emotional depth, and embrace the four pillars: open conversation, supportive environments, inclusion and diversity, and a positive attitude toward risk and failure. These practices create a space where participants feel comfortable contributing, learning, and growing together.

How does the presence of a boss in the room impact the creation of a psychologically safe training environment?

When the boss is present, it becomes even more crucial to demonstrate vulnerability. In my work with clients, I emphasize coaching leaders to openly admit when they don’t have answers, modeling vulnerability for their teams. This practice extends beyond my workshop, encouraging leaders to consistently set an example for their teams, fostering a culture of openness and psychological safety.

How can we measure the level of psychological safety in our workshop?

Informally, I encourage open conversation, urging participants to share feedback—positive or negative. I emphasize accessibility, welcoming discussions about their experience to enhance my design and facilitation. Additionally, Dr. Amy Edmondson’s seven-question survey provides a structured approach. Questions like handling mistakes, discussing problems, embracing diversity, risk-taking, seeking help, preventing undermining, and valuing unique skills offer a snapshot. Administering this survey helps gauge psychological safety levels, allowing teams to identify areas for improvement and develop strategies based on data insights.

As a worldwide facilitator, how does people culture influence the dynamics of psychological safety?

Traveling extensively, I’ve observed that psychological safety is universally essential, but its manifestation varies across cultures. In central Asia, for instance, conflict is approached more subtly due to cultural attributes. Open conversation looks different, emphasizing a willingness to help and nuanced communication. Before entering a new cultural context, extensive research, meeting diverse people, and challenging assumptions are crucial. As facilitators, adopting an observer stance initially allows a deeper understanding, enhancing our ability to tailor training programs effectively. I experienced this firsthand during my time in the Republic of Moldova, emphasizing the value of observation before taking action.

What key lessons have you learned as a facilitator?

Lifelong learning is fundamental. Two primary lessons stand out. Firstly, never feel compelled to be the most knowledgeable person in the room. Embrace vulnerability by admitting uncertainty and turn it into a collaborative exploration. Putting participants first fosters a collective learning environment. Secondly, challenge the oppressive stance inherent in traditional education. Recognize that participants aren’t empty vessels; each brings valuable life experiences. Transform facilitation into a co-created learning experience, emphasizing powerful questions that elicit diverse opinions and encourage collaborative knowledge-building.

If someone wants to take their first step in creating a psychologically safe learning environment, where should they start?

Begin intentionally by setting the tone from the start. Avoid the common mistake of treating elements like psych safety and process-oriented facilitation as afterthoughts. Whether online or in-person, kick off sessions with engaging activities that foster connection. In online workshops, combat initial silence with interactive icebreakers, encouraging early participation. In physical settings, use connection cards and music to create an inclusive atmosphere. Empower participants to interact from the beginning, ensuring they feel seen and valued. This sets the stage for a more impactful and participant-centered learning experience.

Where do you derive the energy needed to be a good facilitator?

My energy comes from my passion for the topic, especially psychological safety. Having experienced toxic work environments, I understand its profound impact on well-being and outcomes. Google’s research reinforced the crucial role of psychological safety in high-performing teams. Impact is a core value for me—I aim to be the change I want to see, helping teams cultivate safety for optimal results. This passion fuels my commitment to creating psychologically safe environments, laying the foundation for impactful and experiential learning programs.