Keys to Creating Emotional Safety and Security
Maximizing the capabilities of your employees requires the creation of an emotionally safe and secure environment. Here are some tips to building that kind of environment.
1) Be personally warm and accepting of your staff. You need to accept them even if you don’t always like them. You care because they are there and they will make your organization successful (or not!).
2) Assure physical safety and a relative degree of comfort. They don’t need a posh environment to feel secure, but they do need bathrooms, heat, and water to work comfortably.
3) Drive out fear of rejection (my take on Deming). Personal judgments are poison to security. No one is a jerk, asshole, or idiot, and no one is stupid, insecure, or ridiculous. People may have problems and quirks, but you are not their judge. Besides, you have them too.
4) Be honest and straightforward. Your staff doesn’t need to waste brain energy figuring out if you mean something different than you say.
5) Have a commitment to your employees and their success. After all, their success is yours. So you are in it together with them.
6) Have a positive attitude. It helps people feel like there is something good ahead. Negative attitudes cause people to worry about the impending doom. It also creates a positive atmosphere which invites creativity and commitment.
7) Be oriented to outcomes. You want your employees and the company to succeed. Consequently the most important goal is to get the business work done right and done well. An outcome orientation also allows corrections to be focused on what is needed for the business, not what is wrong with the employee. And, when things do go wrong, or errors are made, you can review with a mind to the proper outcome.
8 ) Measure success and celebrate it. People need to know that they are mastering their work and that it matters. Be clear about the benefits of worker efforts and reward it. The reward may be monetary, but it must always be personal. This means you tell your employee that they did a great job, and that you/the company appreciates it.
You can do this. It’s actually a pleasure. And it matters a lot.
Tom DeMaio, PhD