Portrait of beautiful young woman enjoying summer with water.

Improving teamwork: Psychological security (2/2)

In our last article we have uncovered the secret of successful teams: It is psychological security that you can use to improve teamwork. You have already learned about three methods for improving psychological security. Now we continue where we left off last time and we give you three more exciting tips.

4. Give all team members a vote

If you give your team members the opportunity and encourage them to give feedback, they'll be more likely to do it. So take the opportunity to ask your colleagues about your assessments of facts. This is how you convey that their voice is in demand and that they can make a difference with it.

Of course, not every colleague is equally open: In the best case, you let them decide which feedback channel they want to use - for example every two weeks Retrospectives, One-on-one discussions or written feedback, so everyone has them motivation and the possibilityto contribute their opinion.

5. Open handling of mistakes

The first step in dealing openly with mistakes is to talk about your own mistakes. This is how you make it clear that there is no shame in making mistakes and that it is important to speak openly about them. By clarifying the basic attitude towards mistakes you are taking an important step towards psychological security.

Of course, it is not enough to trust that everyone addresses their own mistakes. You not only have to be able to openly address your own mistakes, but also those of your colleagues. How it works? Skillful feedback should be behavioral and include three elements: a description of the situation, the behavior shown and the effects. Example:

Mr. Meyer forgot to give his team a customer appointment in advance. Instead of the other team members now showing their anger unfiltered, they first talk to Mr. Meyer about the context in which the behavior was shown (“Company X should become a new customer"). Then describe the behavior - without interpreting it ("You made an appointment with company X and didn't tell the team when that appointment was"). Finally, the consequences of this behavior are shown (“The other team members took part in the conversation unprepared. Company X has canceled the collaboration"). In the sense of be hard on the problem, but nice on the people (Goller & Laufer, 2018).

6. Practice appreciation

Mutual appreciation is also part of a psychologically safe atmosphere. A simple exercise to start with is the “appreciation shower” or “warm rain”.

Each team member is successively showered with positive feedback and is given the opportunity to react to it at the end (Goller & Laufer, 2018). This is not just about professional appreciation, but also about, for example, appreciating the contribution of the individual to team cohesion. This appreciation gives the team members a positive feeling and also increases the perceived security within the team.


According to the study by Google, psychological security seems to be the most important basis for effective teamwork. There are many ways to create a secure atmosphere to improve teamwork. Above all, this includes responding to all team members and producing Feedback channels. If you want more input, Harvard Business School scholar Amy Edmondson, who coined the term psychological safety, explains in her TED Talk again with further examples of how psychological security can be promoted.


Goller, I. & Laufer, T. (2018). Psychological security in companies: How high-performance teams really work, Wiesbaden: Springer.

Articles you may also be interested in

Trying to foster Psychological Safety in your team?

In that case, our psychologists designed an agile retrospective for you.

Book a 20-minute online demo now and find out how you can use Echometer to promote agile work in your organization.

I just finished my ebook „12 psychology-based retrospective methods“ – Interested?

Christian Heidemeyer, Psychologist & Scrum Master