Accepting and Rewarding Failure: The Road to Better Psychological Safety

We all make mistakes. It's how we learn and grow. But in the workplace, mistakes can often lead to negative consequences like lost jobs, demotions, and even lawsuits. This is why it's so important for businesses to create a culture where employees feel safe taking risks and making mistakes. In this blog post, we'll discuss the importance of attitude to risk and failure, and how it can help improve psychological safety in the workplace.


Well, what exactly is “attitude to risk and failure”? It's not only an individual’s attitude to risk, which is simply how comfortable an individual is with taking risks, but also an organization's tolerance to risk and failure. This can be how one responds to anything from making a small mistake to risking life and limb. Attitude to risk and failure also involves how an individual or organization deals with the aftermath of risks and failures. Do they beat themselves up over it? Express displeasure for forgoing the status-quo? Or do they try to learn from their mistakes?


Now that we have an understanding of what it involves, why is attitude to risk and failure so important? First, when it exists in a positive manner, it allows employees to experiment and try new things without fear of reprisal. This is so important when working to foster an environment of creativity and innovation, when attitude to risk and failure is high it can lead to breakthroughs that would otherwise never happen. Second, it helps build trust between employees and their leaders. When employees feel like they can trust their managers, leaders, or executives to not punish them for making mistakes, they're more likely to feel comfortable coming to them with problems and concerns. This level of trust is essential for maintaining a healthy workplace and consequently, high levels of psychological safety.


So how can businesses create a culture where attitude to risk and failure is encouraged rather than frowned upon? First, it's important to recognize that everyone makes mistakes and that these mistakes can be valuable. Encourage this by setting aside time to discuss what went wrong and what could be done differently in the future. Second, reward employees for taking risks. This could be something as simple as public recognition or a bonus. Finally, lead by example. If you're not willing to take risks yourself, how can you expect your employees to do so?


Creating a culture where attitude to risk and failure helps to build higher levels of psychological safety may seem like a simple task, but many institutions struggle with it in practice. It's important to remember that these things take time and require a lot of effort. But if you're willing to put in the work, the rewards will be well worth it not just for the company, but for your team members as well.


What do you think? Do you agree that attitude to risk and failure is important for psychological safety in the workplace? Feel free to comment below.




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