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This book is the first practical, hands-on guide that shows how leaders can build psychological safety in their organizations, creating an environment where employees feel included, fully engaged, and encouraged to contribute their best efforts and ideas.
Perhaps the leader's most challenging task is to increase intellectual friction while decreasing social friction. When this doesn't happen and it becomes emotionally expensive to say what you truly think and feel, that lack of psychological safety triggers the self-censoring instinct, shuts down learning, and blocks collaboration and creativity. Timothy R. Clark, a former CEO, Oxford-trained social scientist, and organizational consultant, provides a research-based framework to help leaders transform their organizations into sanctuaries of inclusion and incubators of innovation.
When leaders cultivate psychological safety, teams and organizations progress through four successive stages. First, people feel included and accepted; then they feel safe to learn, contribute, and finally, challenge the status quo. Clark draws deeply on psychology, philosophy, social science, literature, and his own experiences to show how leaders can, and must, set the tone and model the ideal behaviors--as he says, "you either show the way or get in the way." This thoughtful and pragmatic guide demonstrates that if you banish fear, install true performance-based accountability, and create a nurturing environment that allows people to be vulnerable as they learn and grow, they will perform beyond your expectations.
About the Author
Timothy R. Clark is founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, a leadership consulting and training organization, and works with leadership teams around the world. He earned a triple degree and first-team Academic All-America honors as a football player at Brigham Young University and completed a doctorate in social science from Oxford University. He is also the author of Leading with Character and Competence.
"There are gems in this book which will stick with me. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about themselves and the world they live in. I also, on a side note, suggest that The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety should be a handbook for every educator in the country."—D.L. Gardner, The Magic Pen
“This is not just a book; it’s an urgent invitation to the kind of rigorous self-examination that will lead to breakthroughs in every relationship of your life. Clark offers us a case for and path to creating the healthy social systems we crave and modern corporate flourishing demands.” —Joseph Grenny, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Crucial Conversations
“As a person responsible for the development of employees in 65 countries, I can tell you that this book outlines a must-have culture. A safe space is table stakes for any organization looking to attract and retain talent and innovate from every chair. A powerful call to action.” —Simone Ciafardini, Vice President, Clinique Global Education
“The 4 stages framework is exceptionally insightful and perfectly logical. With the ongoing diversification of the workplace, Clark’s defined path to inclusion and innovation can’t be ignored. This book showed me how to improve my performance as both a team member and leader. The analysis and recommendations are insightful and inspiring." —Martin Shell, Vice president and chief external relations officer, Stanford University
“Many leaders talk about wanting the ‘truth’ but don’t model a social contract that protects employees in the vulnerability that comes with candor. Clark shows us how to create a safe environment where dissent and challenging the status quo are the norm, not the exception.” —Angela O’Dorisio, Director, Talent Development, VMware Carbon Black
“The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety embodies the logical and natural progression of a healthy, high performing team. It provides a road-map for teams striving to create the best environment for success. I use it consistently to monitor my own team’s health, applying the framework to each individual both professionally and personally.” —Libby Macomber, Director, Commercial Development, Celemi
"Clark’s writing ideas and concepts are insightful; questions inspiring; and images and stories captivating. His work helps leaders create, employees experience, and all of us receive psychological safety to create a better future." —Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
“Safety, commitment and engagement are subjective topics, difficult to measure and can be the cause of lack of results and turnovers. This book challenges the status quo, revolutionizes leadership perspective and can transform companies and the way they engage with people so they can safely do their best.” —Ana Artigas, Brazilian neuropsychologist, best-selling author of Relational Intelligence
“Psychological safety is perhaps the most important condition any leader can create for innovation to flourish. Timothy Clark provides and insightful examination of the specific steps leaders can take to build psychological safety within their team or organization. A terrific read!” —Jeff Dyer, Horace Beesley Professor of Strategy, Marriott School of Business, Professor of Strategy, Wharton School of Business
"How do you summon the collective genius of an entire organization? From a Latin American perspective, I can tell you that Timothy Clark's book holds the answer. If organizations create a culture of psychological safety, they can meet ferocious competition by harnessing the power of inclusion to drive innovation. As a survival guide to the 21st century, this book uncovers the DNA of enduring greatness across cultures, industries, and demographics." —Juan Carlos Linares, President, Lee Hecht Harrison, Bogota, Colombia
"Clark has an urgent need for us to recognize our common humanity and, by doing so, encourage organizational and professional success." —Nicole Killian, Mobyorkcity.com