Psychological Safety: Culture & Leadership

What is 'Culture & Leadership'?

The chnnl November team challenge is live, and it is all centralised around the importance of psychological safety within the workplace. We are analysing carefully selected video clips, and unpacking the presence, or lack there of, of psychological safety in a workplace environment. Throughout this challenge, we dive deep into chnnl's Level Up Framework through identifying psychosocial hazards, and the primary foundations are; Work Design, Culture & Leadership, Personal Factors, Social Connections, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Mana Whenua. 

In Day Two, we analysed the psychosocial hazards relating to 'Culture & Leadership', which all have a profound impact on the psychological safety within an organisation. When the principles of Culture & Leadership are practiced effectively, this can have great positive implications on workplaces and organisational culture. In contrast, when practiced ineffectively, there is risk for psychological injury and the absence of psychological safety. 

The first video below portrays the presence of 'Culture & Leadership' related risks through a scene in Ted Lasso's Season One, Episode Eight. We encourage you to watch the video alongside us, and identify what psychosocial risks might be present associated with the theme of Culture and Leadership, and how this has a correlation with decreased psychological safety.


Level Up Framework* 


Culture & Leadership Hazards Included:


.1 Organisation Participation

2.1.1 Participation and consultation in psychological health and safety occurs with employees’, unions and health and safety representatives in my workplace
2.1.2 Employees are encouraged to become involved in psychological safety and health matters
2.1.3 In my organisation, the prevention of stress involves all levels of the organisation
2.1.4 Lack of clear vision and objectives
management style unsuited to the nature of the work and its demand
failing to listen or only casually listening to complaints and suggestions
withholding information
providing inadequate communication and support
lack of accountability
lack of fairness
inconsistent and poor decision-making practices

2.2 Organisation Communication

2.2.1 There is good communication here about psychological safety issues which affect me 2.2.2 Information about workplace psychological well-being is always brought to my attention by my manager/supervisor
2.2.3 My contributions to resolving occupational health and safety concerns in the organisation are listened to
2.2.4 Lack of practical support provided to assist workers during transition periods
2.2.5 Prolonged restructuring
2.2.6 Consultation and communication about workplace changes is lacking, of poor quality, untimely or not meaningful

2.3 Management Priority

2.3.1 Psychological well-being of staff is a priority for this organisation
2.3.2 Senior management clearly considers the psychological health of employees to be of great importance
2.3.3 Senior management considers employee psychological health to be as important as productivity

2.4 Management Commitment

2.4.1 In my workplace senior management acts quickly to correct problems/issues that affect employees’ psychological health
2.4.2 Senior management acts decisively when a concern of an employees’ psychological status is raised
2.4.3 Senior management show support for stress prevention through involvement and commitment

2.5 Recognition and Reward

2.5.1 An imbalance between workers’ effort and formal and informal recognition and reward
2.5.2 Lack of appropriate acknowledgement and appreciation of workers’ efforts in a fair and timely manner


Business Outcomes Included:


1.1.7 Productivity

1.1.8 Psychological Safety Climate 

1.1.9 Psychological Safety (Amy Edmondson) 

1.2.0 Job Satisfaction

The Risks


Throughout the clip in Ted Lasso, we see Jamie stepping out of training from what he said was due to an injured knee. Ted Lasso his leader then goes and rudely speaks to him infront of the team without considering the full situation or taking time to let Jamie tell his story. There were multiple risks which we identified relating to Culture & Leadership present, as outlined below:

1. Consideration for psychological wellbeing

Throughout the scene, Ted didn't take the time to consider the psychological wellbeing of Jamie before quickly taking to punishing him. Although Jamie expressed he wasn't participating due to a knee injury, there definitely could have been other aspects impacting his participation and motivation, as it is previously outlined in the episode that he is going through mental health problems. It would have been psychologically safe for Ted to have taken consideration of all factors before acting how he did. This would also include giving the opportunity for Jamie to tell his story, and to have an honest conversation about the situation. 

2. Punishment 

It is seen throughout the scene that Jamie is punished for his lack of participation in practice in an abrupt manner without the opportunity for telling his story. He was yelled at infront of his team and told to 'set up the cones' for his teammates, which is an undesired task in this setting. This can lead to feeling undervalued and not heard, especially if he is experiencing problems with his psychological wellbeing. Ultimately, jumping straight to punishment demonstrates a lack of psychological safety in this scene.

3. Public Confrontation

Ted Lasso spoke to Jamie within this scene in an unpsychologically safe manner. He very loudly and obviously stormed into the room where the entire team was, and called Jamie out for his lack of participation in practice infront of everyone. Publically addressing issues in this manner can be damaging for open communication, and make individuals reluctant to speak up. To maintain a psychologically safe environment, It is better to provide feedback or have similar conversations privately, and to focus on constructive criticism and offering solutions, after listening to the individuals perspective. Ultimately, it was unfair on Jamie to be called out in front of the group, and this displays a clear psychosocial risk related to Culture & Leadership.

4. Manner of Communication

The final key psychosocial risk which is present in this scene is the way in which Jamie was spoken to. Alongside being spoken to infront of his whole team, he was also stood over and spoken to in an aggressive tone. This doesn't promote a psychologically safe environment, and would have likely made Jamie feel attacked of embarrassed. It would have been better if Ted was curious and non-judgemental in his approach to discussing his concerns with Jamie, and had a constructive, private, and civil conversation regarding the matter. 

How does chnnl help you measure and identify Culture & leadership hazards:

Weekly Pulse Screening and Assessment Survey: 

1. chnnl-50 questions

Through chnnls' academically validated check-in questions, Culture & Leadership hazards are measured and monitored. This provides regular insight and indication towards the impact of Culture & Leadership in an organisation and how this effects psychological safety, alongside wellbeing.

Example screening questions: 


"People at this organisation can bring up problems and tough issues"

"My work gives me the opportunity to develop my skills and strengths"


"My organisation treats me fairly"

"I often get help and feel supported by my work leader"

"If I make a mistake at this organisation, it is often held against me"

2. Journals 

Free text anonymous journaling for anyone in the organisation to reflect on the workplace environment, climate and culture. The chnnl AI then codes the free text into key themes and sentiments and matches them to psychosocial risk tags. These are then reviewed by a clinical team before being finalised for organisation reporting and recommended actions. Having a free text reflection tool enables deep and rich insights into the employees experiences and celebrates the protective factors in the workplace as well as the potential risks. 

3. Risk identification and mitigation

At chnnl, we use a bowtie risk matrix to identify risks and what to do before an injury has occurred, and then also to facilitate mitigating interventions in the event of a psychological injury, to ensure psychologically safe workplaces. 

See this page for expansion on chnnls' psychosocial Risk Matrix

What the Experts Say:

Fiona Michel, CEO of Braemar hospital

Full video interview of Fiona Michel - Culture & Leadership


Taking Action . . .


- Check in with yourself before you address a situation 

- Setting the expectations at the beginning of a conversation about how you are feeling, showing up about where you are at before starting the conversation


Frame 132


Written by chnnl Team

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