A culture of fear isn’t the way to get the best out of your employees. That seems obvious, but there’s more to it than you might think. In fact, it’s the opposite – fostering a safe environment – that allows them to optimize performance, even in the face of change.

We’re not talking about ensuring everyone know where the nearest exits are or identifying physical workplace hazards (although those are important too), but rather understanding how safety affects business leadership and the behavior of employees.

You may have heard a bit about psychological safety in business over the past year or so. It’s an important first step toward a resilient and agile culture, but there’s a nuance that’s important to understand. There is a difference between psychological safety and NeuroSafety. Let’s take a look:

Psychological Safety

  1. Primarily addresses thinking and emotions.
  2. Refers to creating a climate of openness and candor.
  3. Encourages the free exchange of ideas without negative repercussions.
  4. Is experienced at a group level.
  5. Is a temporally immediate experience.

NeuroSafety

  1. NeuroSafety addresses thinking and emotion, but also deals fundamentally with the brain’s wiring.
  2. Uses a science-based approach that strengthens behaviors by actually altering the brain’s neural pathways.
  3. Deals with providing specific inputs or stimuli (i.e. communication) to help the brain react in the desired way.
  4. Helps people move from their “reptilian” or survival brain into a “thinking” brain by providing the right information needed for change.
  5. Is experienced on an individual level that ultimately benefits the group.
  6. Happens immediately, but becomes permanent over time through regular, sincere communication and validation of stressors and fears, among other methods.

Safety matters, especially if you want to attract and cultivate rock stars. NeuroSafety creates a safe environment for employees and teams, and is a vital part of leading change. No hard hats required.


Noesis delivers neuroleadership consulting and training to organizations handling major change and transformation initiatives. We help our Fortune 500 clients permanently and scientifically improve leadership.