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26 Quotes to Inspire Psychological Safety in Your Workplace

Psychological Health & Safety
Get inspired by these curated quotes about psychological safety and workplace wellbeing, and discover how fostering an environment of trust can empower your team or organisation.

In the dynamic world of business and leadership, the significance of psychological safety and employee wellbeing has taken centre stage. It's the invisible force that empowers employees to leap into the unknown, voice unconventional ideas, and venture beyond their comfort zones. 

Beyond merely surviving, organisations that wholeheartedly embrace the mental and emotional wellness of their workforce are soaring to new heights, cultivating a thriving work environment and elevating their overall success. 

That’s why we’ve put together a selection of expert quotes on psychological safety to help you get your organisation or team on board. But this article isn't just a compilation of quotes; it's tailored for the trailblazers and forward-thinkers. Whether it be in your next presentation, team meeting, or blog post, feel free to weave the wisdom of these quotes in, and start transforming the way you work.

Quotes About Taking An Employee-First Approach to Psychological Safety

Picture this: a workplace where the employees aren't just cogs in the machinery, but what fuels its momentum. Here, we delve into an employee-first approach to psychological safety. These quotes celebrate the spirit of putting employees at the forefront of the psychological health and safety movement.

  1. “Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” - Angela Ahrendts, Former Senior Vice President of Retail of Apple Inc.
  2. “Successful work health and safety (WHS) practices are always underpinned by genuine consultation. Workers are most likely to know about the risks of their work. Involving workers in the decision-making process, and genuinely taking into account their views, builds commitment to WHS practices.” - Michelle Baxter PSM, Chief Executive Officer of SafeWork Australia
  3. “Where we get lost is in thinking where the culture begins. We often think it happens in the employee handbook or from the CEO’s office. It doesn't happen in the employee handbook. It's in the cubicle next to you and in your own cubicle.” - Bozoma Saint John, Chief Marketing Officer of Netflix
  4. “When you put people first and then surround them with processes and disciplines that recognize their efforts, performance will soar.” - David C. Novak, Co-Founder and Former CEO of YUM! Brands Inc.
  5. “If you do not treat people with the respect they deserve, do not expect any kind of commitment to your productivity goals and target.” Ian Fuhr, Founder and CEO of Sorbet Group.

Quotes About Using Psychological Safety as a Business Strategy

Dreaming of a boardroom where the decisions aren't just about numbers and projections, but also about fostering an environment where voices aren't stifled, where risks are taken, and where every individual has a stake in the game? Then this section is for you. These quotes encapsulate the ethos of embracing psychological safety as a strategic move, a game-changer that propels businesses growth and achievement.

  1. “No 21st century organisation can afford to have a culture of fear. Fear silences all but the most confident voices, and small signals of impending risks are discounted or ignored.” - Dr. Amy Edmonson, Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School.
  2. “Combining strengths and wellbeing at work is potentially the most transformational treatment yet in the urgent pursuit of resiliency, mental health and ultimately, net thriving.” - Jim Clifton & Jim Harter, Wellbeing at Work. 
  3. “Creating a mentally healthy workplace should no longer be considered a peripheral concern for leaders. It is something that needs to be at the core of successful, thriving organisations.” - Professor Samuel Harvey, Executive Director & Chief Scientist of Black Dog Institute Australia
  4. “Running a business with unhealthy and unhappy employees is like trying to drive a car with a bad engine. It may eventually get you where you want to go, but the trip will be difficult and you’ll waste a lot of time and resources.” - Sheana Abrahams, Health & Wellness Head of GetSmarter
  5. “Improving the health and well-being of our employees makes good business sense. As a leading provider of workplace health services, we see every day the difference it can make to a company’s bottom line and the impact it can have on employee morale and motivation. It offers a ”win-win” all round. Employees benefit from better support for their health. Companies benefit from less absence and improved productivity. And society benefits from improved public health.” – Steve Flanagan, Commercial Director of Bupa.
  6. “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.” – Doug Conant, Founder of ConantLeadership.
  7. “We are embedding health and well-being at the heart of our business strategy because our people are our greatest asset, and we recognize that a healthy, happy and committed workforce is vital to our business success.” - Alex Gourlay, Co-Chief Operating Officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance.
  8. “Supporting workplaces to be psychologically healthy and foster employee wellbeing represents a huge opportunity to improve mental health and wellbeing across the population, as well as to enhance organisational performance.” - Lyn Littlefield, Anna Sitzel, and Jill Giese, A Workplace Prevention Approach to Employee Mental Health
  9. “Building a community and building a business go hand in hand, that is my belief. Many employees check part of themselves at the door when they go to work, and leave part of themselves at home. Companies that allow employees to bring their whole self to work are the ones that get the most out of their employees.” - Scott Farquhar, co-founder and CEO of Atlassian
  10. “There's no question that workplace wellness is worth it. The only question is whether you're going to do it today or tomorrow.” - Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
  11. “Success depends on psychological safety. At Google, members of teams with high levels of psychological safety were less likely to leave their jobs, brought in more revenue, and were rated effective twice as often by executives. MIT researchers who studied team performance came to the same conclusion: simply grouping smart people together doesn’t guarantee a smart team. Online and off, the best teams discuss ideas frequently, do not let one person dominate the conversation, and are sensitive to one another’s feelings.” – Liz Fosslein, Author and Head of Content at Humu.

Quotes About Psychological Safety

Peel back the layers of misconception, and uncover the core truths about what psychological safety really is. The quotes in this section reveal that psychological safety isn't just about a lack of conflict or sugar-coated praise, but a dynamic force that encourages healthy disagreement, fuels growth through constructive feedback, and allows individuals to unfurl their potential without fear of judgement.

  1. “Psychological safety isn't about being nice. It’s about giving candid feedback, openly admitting mistakes, and learning from each other.” - Dr. Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth.
  2. “Freedom from fear requires feeling safe. If you feel safe, you run experiments. You stop asking permission. You avoid long, mind-numbing meetings. You create a new kind of culture in which you accept that mistakes are inevitable. You learn that small, fast mistakes are preferable to the big, slow, deadly mistakes you are making today.” – Richard Sheridan, co-founder and CEO of Menlo Innovations.
  3. “If we want innovation, if we want creativity, if we want morale, if we want collaboration–we need safety. If we don't have safety, then we just aren't able to connect, and we aren't able to come out with the same kind of outputs we would if we were in a safe environment.” - Dr Angie Montgomery, Co-founder and CEO of InCheq
  4. “To understand why psychological safety promotes performance, we have to step back to reconsider the nature of so much of the work in today's organisations. With routine, predictable, modular work on the decline, more and more of the tasks that people do require judgement, coping with uncertainty, suggesting new ideas, and coordinating and communicating with others. This means that voice is mission critical. And so, for anything but the most independent or routine work, psychological safety is intimately tied to freeing people up to pursue excellence.” - Dr. Amy Edmonson, Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School.
  5. “failure of an employee to speak up in a crucial moment cannot be seen. This is true whether that employee is on the front lines of customer service or sitting next to you in the executive board room. And because not offering an idea is an invisible act, it's hard to engage in real-time course correction. This means that psychologically safe workplaces have a powerful advantage in competitive industries.” - Dr. Amy Edmondson, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth.
  6. When the environment nurtures psychological safety, there’s an explosion of confidence, engagement, and performance. Ask yourself if you feel included, safe to learn, safe to contribute, and safe to challenge the status quo. Finally, ask yourself if you’re creating an environment where others can do these four things. In the process, look around and see others with respect and fresh amazement, find deeper communion in your relationships, and more happiness and satisfaction in your own life” – Timothy R. Clark, Founder and CEO of LeaderFactor.

Quotes About Leadership and Psychological Safety

A leader who doesn't just guide from the front, but empowers from within. The quotes ahead delve into the role of leaders as architects of trust, champions of open communication, and catalysts for a culture where authenticity thrives.

  1. “The role you play as a leader is helping people experience relatedness at work: caring about and feeling cared about, feeling connected without ulterior motives, and contributing to something greater than oneself.” – Susan Fowler, Why Motivating People Doesn't Work . . . and What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energising, and Engaging.
  2. “When leaders become genuine learners, they set a good example and help to create a psychologically safe environment for others.” – Edgar Schein, Psychologist and Professor at MIT Sloan School of Management.
  3. “In general, the route to establishing psychological safety begins with the team’s leader. So if you are leading a team—be it a group of coworkers or a sports team, a church gathering, or your family dinner table—think about what message your choices send. Are you encouraging equality in speaking, or rewarding the loudest people? Are you modeling listening?” – Charles Duhigg, Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity.
  4. “When leaders ask for help or share something they’re curious about, they make it possible for others to do the same.” – Minette Norman, The Psychological Safety Playbook: Lead More Powerfully by Being More Human.

Want to learn more about taking a proactive approach to psychological safety in your workplace? 

Get in touch with our team to learn more about how the InCheq platform can create a safer and more supportive environment for your employees.

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Get InCheq at your Organisation.

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