By Angela Prentner-Smith
PSYCHOLOGICAL safety is an important concept in the workplace. It refers to an individual's perception of the consequences of taking an interpersonal risk or a belief that a team is safe for risk-taking in the face of being seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative, or disruptive. The benefits of this are a higher-performing workplace, better placed to innovate, reduce risks, produce better work, and make less errors.
At consultancy, training and technology business This is Milk we actively practise what we’re learning as our company culture evolves and we’ve found effective ways of ensuring a psychologically safe space so that our high-functioning teams are the best versions of themselves.
The first step is communication. Explain the concept and the reasons why psychological safety is important. Aim to make psychological safety a part of your company’s DNA and lead by example. Be clear in the message, that psychological safety isn’t about creating a "nice" place to work, it requires vulnerable communication, candid professional debate, and a high degree of tolerance for difference.
Angela left her birthplace in Calgary, Canada at 15. After completing her A levels at the City of Sunderland College she moved to Glasgow to study History of Art at the University of Glasgow where she achieved a First-Class Honours degree. Angela split her time at university between her studies and work at the Student Loans Company and subsequently worked with Scottish Power, Tesco Bank, Clydesdale Bank and Barclays before venturing into entrepreneurship.
Since launching her business, This Is Milk, a consultancy, training and technology business, Angela and her team have built a reputation as innovators, creating a strong brand, and forging a unique place in the Scottish market.
By Joe Triccas Product Manager at This is Milk
Self-sovereign data ownership may sound like a complicated concept, but it’s quite straightforward.
Let’s consider a scenario: you’re on a weekend trip, and you suddenly fall ill. You make an appointment with a doctor, but they can’t access your medical records because they are owned by the NHS and not directly accessible across trusts.
This means they are flying blind, hoping that you remember all your allergies and medical history accurately. (The NHS has taken great steps to improve this, alas the issue continues internationally)
In the current data ownership model, you can request your medical records from the NHS, but they are redacted and not entirely under your control. Doctors often trust the data more than what you say, which can create issues in medical treatment, especially for us in the above scenario.
However, imagine a world where you own your medical records. They are stored securely on your phone, protected by biometrics like your face scan or fingerprint. If you travel and fall ill, you can grant temporary access to your medical records to the doctor, who can access what they need. You get to see what information they access, and everyone is happy.
By Angela Prentner-Smith
Psychological safety, the ‘enabler’ of a healthy and prosperous workplace, is being embraced fully by Glasgow-based business founder and Managing Director, Angela Prentner-Smith of This is Milk.
The agency has launched a Psychological Safety Indexing service to clients.
What is psychological safety?
First explored by scholars in the 1960s, psychological safety is re-emerging as a hot topic and the language we use and how we use it is also something businesses should be mindful of.
Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. This means an absence of interpersonal fear. When psychological safety is present, people can speak up with work-relevant content.
Are we unknowingly being passive-aggressive?
One major consideration with psychological safety is the language we use. Whether unintended or not, passive-aggressive language can contribute negatively to workplace culture and erode psychological safety within a team.