By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Statement for more information.

Get in touch

If you have seen something that sparks your interest, get in touch to see how I can help transform your organisation.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

A place of safety

Creating a climate of psychological safety

Safety in the workplace might prompt thoughts of risk and incident management, but it also plays out in the culture and climate of an organisation.

Organisation culture represents “the way we do things around here”(1). It’s shaped by the attitudes, values and behaviours of significant people – often owners, founders and key influencers – and informs deep seated practices and behavioural norms. Clues about culture are evident in the stories told about the organisation, in its symbols, how power is distributed and control exercised, and through habits, rituals and routines. Culture can evolve over time as the organisation matures, and the context in which it operates can drive culture change. Start-up businesses and large, mature institutions will necessarily be shaped by their environment.

The climate of an organisation describes the way that people experience the workplace; “what it feels like to work here” and it is subject to fluctuations which leaders can greatly influence.

When leadership, culture and climate aren’t working well, employees may feel threatened, unclear on their role and contribution, not inspired, looked after or safe. Leaders may adopt the assumption and habit of over-directing and not spotting or not responding to the need for leadership. The challenge is to evolve the leadership practice within an organisation, creating skilful leaders and a space where employees feel engaged, can safely take initiative, and have greater autonomy and decision-making freedom appropriate to their levels of competence.

So, how to transform your organisation or team and develop a climate that is psychologically safe and enables your people to be at their best? The principles and practice of servant leadership (2); self-awareness, leading by example, listening, empathy, developing your people and building community and consensus are a great starting point.

The benefits of a positive culture and climate are many with demonstrable improvements in employee retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue (3) across business sectors. Creating a safe climate is a critical leadership contribution and should be seen as being as important as a focus on strategy, achieving targets and operational leadership. In challenging external environments, it’s good to keep your people safe.

If you’d like to find out more about how to create a climate for success get in touch.


1 Deal, TE and Kennedy, AA. (2000). Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life. Rev. ed. Basic Books.

2 Greenleaf, R.K. (2003). The Servant-Leader Within: A Transformative Path. Paulist Press. 

3 Cooil, B. et al. (2009). The relationship of employee perceptions of organizational climate to business-unit outcomes: An MPLS approach. Journal of Service Research 11, 277–294.

Back to all news

Latest News and Insights

Leading change

Creating a high-performing organisation
View the article
May 14, 2024

A place of safety

Creating a climate of psychological safety
View the article
March 7, 2024

Planning for successful transformation

A well-designed organisation analysis will identify key areas for improvement and result in highly relevant strategies which deliver the greatest benefit to your organisation.
View the article
January 15, 2024

Transformational, virtual learning experiences

How can virtual learning be genuinely transformational?
View the article
December 8, 2023
Contact us