Haupz Blog

... still a totally disordered mix

Elephants, and Emperors

2022-07-09 — Michael Haupt

Sometimes there's an elephant in the room. Sometimes the emperor wears no clothes. And then, sometimes, the elephant in the room wears no clothes, and that's when it's really important to speak up.

That works best when there's psychological safety. In spite of its name, it's not at all a touchy-feely concept: it takes a lot of hard work and courage to achieve, foster, and sustain. It begins with building trust, and involves freeing the workplace of fear.

Psychological safety also has nothing to do with being nice: rather, it's all about being kind when raising concerns and issues. Being nice just leads to tiptoeing around issues (see above about naked elephants) but never resolving them. Being kind, conversely, means that necessary criticism can be brought up, and that it comes from a position of support, not revenge; with a spirit of caring, not blaming; in a culture that makes issues transparent to learn, rather than retaliate.

Tags: work