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Leadership Styles to Promote Psychological Safety

leadership transition Feb 01, 2023

- By Sophie Pinkoski

As we begin to rebuild our 2023 workforce, it’s becoming clear that the traditional leadership styles we’re used to need to be improved. The authoritative approach certainly does not motivate people. We have learned to expect more from leaders as we set new boundaries to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Leaders are now being held to a much higher standard for their team members’ health and safety needs.

Put the wellbeing of your team first. If they feel safe, heard, and validated at work, your organization’s success will follow. 

In re-evaluating existing leadership styles to navigate the year ahead, develop a culture of psychological safety. If your team feel comfortable enough to share openly with you, they’re far more likely to be actively engaged.

Building psychological safety into your organization’s culture starts from the top.

As the leader, you canset an example for your team. To do so, you must find out how your current leadership style is impacting your team and shift your habits accordingly.  

Here are three main leadership styles that foster psychological safety: 

Consultative leadership – Consulting with your team members to solicit their feedback is the first step to introducing and maintaining psychological safety within your organization. It’s important to take in multiple perspectives to get a well-rounded perspective on how best to approach leading your team through an unpredictable future. Listen to them and pay attention to what issues affect them most. This will clarify the mental state of your team.

Remember, everyone’s lives are different, and a one-size-fits all approach won’t work.

Be open to uniquely curating everyone’s schedules and work routines to fit the needs of the organization and their individual needs 

Supportive leadership – Actively supporting your team members as human beings means treating everyone with empathy

If you express empathy and concern toward your team members, they will treat one another with empathy in return.

This means being aware of the types of benefits and professional development that would motivate each individual member. Supporting their growth is just as important as supporting their well-being. 

Challenging leadership – A challenging leadership style works most effectively if consultative and supportive leadership habits have already been put in place.

This is about challenging your team to reach their highest potential.

It’s not enough to simply expect them to go above and beyond if they’re not first engaged and invested in the work to begin with. A positive, collaborative, and supportive environment empowers individuals to push themselves and one another to be the best they can be. 

When you can use all three leadership styles in tandem, it gives your team a well-rounded working environment where they’re encouraged to share their ideas and concerns.

Organizations who can achieve this culture can enjoy the added benefit of more innovation and proactive thinking in adapting to future change.

By reflecting on your leadership style and setting a positive example for your team, you’re not only investing in their loyalty and wellbeing, but in the longevity of your organization as well. 


Further Reading: 

Better Bosses: Changing the Way We Lead Post-Pandemic, Mckinsey 

Psychological Safety and the Critical Role of Leadership Development, Mckinsey 

The Post-COVID Work Habits to Make (and Break) as an Employer, Wrike 

Why Half the Work Force is Quiet Quitting and What to do About it, Forbes 

3 Strategies to Help Employees Thrive in the New “Normal”, Harvard Business Review 



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