This year's annual #DiveIn theme is #bravercultures. Focusing on both online and offline culture – Dive In is opening up the conversation on how to build a workplace that truly allows people to feel psychologically safe, valued, respected and free to express themselves authentically.
If you can create an environment where people are free to speak and express themselves, naturally they'll consider that a 'safe' place to do so. Initially, I think you have to assess where you're at, where you want to be and crucially, why you want to be there.
This should, in my opinion, be replicated in the work produced, we're not creating drones, we are creating the leaders of tomorrow so ensuring that these people are safe to express themselves in their work as well as socially, is crucial. An expression I use is 'we create the framework, the designs and materials to create a house but how you build it and what it looks like, is up to you'.
A couple of things you can do:
Set the tone, what you do as a leader people naturally think is ok to do. Set a tone and environment where people see you asking, listening and taking care to pay attention.
In team-based or individual one-on-ones, it's so much more powerful to go around and ask everyone their opinion rather than just telling them what to do. Listen before speaking.
Actually taking time out of your schedule as a leader to ask how someone is, and get to know your team.
Each one-on-one meeting you have should be considered a free space to speak, again this will encourage not only a freer environment but crucially, it'll help you get to issues before they become issues.
360 appraisals. Your team should be comfortable holding you accountable too and you should be mature enough to take that without getting defensive!
All of this should create a culture and environment to encourage growth and speak freely.