There’s been a lot of talk about psychological safety lately.

Organizations keen to get the best out of their leaders, teams and employees are hearing about the benefits of creating psychologically-safe workplaces.

But what is it, exactly?

The term was coined by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, whose research discovered that the highest performers experienced a climate of openness and trust that enabled them to share ideas, challenge thinking and processes and contribute fully without negative repercussions.

Google’s internal study of their highest-performing teams also revealed this same finding: The best leaders are doing something very special. They are creating a team environment where people feel they can fully engage and collaborate, to the benefit of the organization. This is psychological safety. And everybody wants it. At Noesis, we call it NeuroSafety.

The bad news, to varying degrees, is that most companies do not focus on fostering this optimum climate for innovation and high productivity, or don’t know how. In fact, the opposite exists, especially during change, constraining innovation, dampening productivity and limiting change initiative success.

The good news is that it’s a skill and leaders can learn to create psychological safety.

We know from the hundreds of leaders we work with that psychological safety is a leadership issue – and a business opportunity. It’s often the smart maverick leader who truly gets it and in their desperate search for a better way to support their team.

Enter psychological safety, the desire to foster it and the mental focus to build the skills will improve your workplace. Period.

Visit our Courses page to learn more about our newest course: Your Brain on Safety.


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.