203: Cultivating Psychological Safety with Teresa Mitrovic

People that don’t feel safe in their work can’t reach their full potential. Psychological safety can make the difference between a productive and innovative workplace, and one where employees feel the need to keep their heads down. As managers, it’s our responsibility to create a culture of psychological safety so our team members can communicate well, produce better results, and be their authentic selves.

Today’s guest is Teresa Mitrovic. Teresa is the founder of ORO Collective, as well as a consultant, coach, course creator, and author specializing in performance, psychological safety, and trust. In her past life as a corporate leader, when the increasing demands of senior leadership clashed with single parenthood, Teresa pivoted her career to coaching leaders.

Teresa and I talk about psychological safety and how to foster an environment in which people speak up, give feedback, show up authentically, and act without fear.

Members of the Modern Manager community get Teresa’s Coaching as a Manager guide. This video walk-through will help you refine the relationship you have with your team and begin the process of converting emotional tension into creative tension, while helping your team to learn, fail and continually develop with greater psychological safety. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community.

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Read the related blog article: Foster Psychological Safety Within Your Team


Website: https://www.orocollective.space/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teresamitrovic/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/orocollectiveteam

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/newsletters/the-psych-safety-project-6892397826123423744/

Key Takeaways:

  • Psychological safety is the feeling that you can speak up and be vulnerable in front of your boss and colleagues without fear of judgment or repercussions.
  • When we feel safe, we go into “Connect Mode” which activates the prefrontal cortex. We think creatively, expansively, and feel confident sharing our thoughts.
  • When stressed, we go into “Protect Mode” which activates the limbic brain. We go into flight/fright/freeze and feel afraid to speak up.
  • Have individual conversations with employees about why they are hesitating to speak. Tell them you value their opinions and ask what they would contribute to the conversation.
  • People from different cultures build trust differently. Also, trauma experiences impact one’s ability to build trust.
  • Pay attention to signs that employees feel unsafe. What perceived risks might they see?
  • Deep internal conditioning of how managers and employees would act (all-knowing or obedient) may affect one’s mindset about what’s appropriate to share.
  • Celebrate when your team speaks up, even if it’s hard to hear. Acknowledge the truth of their lived experiences. Give yourself time to digest and get back to them if you disagree.
  • A psychologically safe environment means that all team members show respect for one another’s contributions.
  • If someone speaks in a disrespectful manner, thank them for sharing while asking them to express themselves differently. When damaging behavior is caught and corrected, people will feel safer being vulnerable.

Additional Resources:



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