Psychological Safety and Respectful Communication

Why Attend?

The phrase Psychological Safety was coined in 1999 by Harvard Professor, Amy Edmondson. Her studies into clinical teams and their mistakes found that better-performing teams and individuals made more mistakes than teams and individuals who were performing less well. The key difference is that better-performing teams and individuals were more likely to own up to their mistakes whereas their lesser-performing colleagues were more inclined to hide errors. 

Psychological safety, therefore, describes an environment where people believe they will not suffer negative repercussions for contributing ideas, asking questions, raising concerns, or coming forward with their mistakes. At the core of Psychological Safety is the ability to have and manage effective feedback conversations which are crucial to creating an environment of Belonging (we are close), Alignment (we share a future), and Psychological Safety (we feel safe) - the three dimensions individuals need, to operate at their best within an organisation.

Main Topics

This workshop can be conducted over an hour or longer, depending on the needs of the organisation and the size of the group. It can be conducted as a training session or as a relationship-building initiative. While there are many approaches to building psychological safety, this workshop will be an opportunity for you to identify practices and behaviours unique to your organisation and will form the basis of working on ground rules for partnerships and project work with internal and external stakeholders.

  1. The meaning of 'psychological safety'.
  2. The 4 levels of psychological safety (Inclusion, Learner, Contributor, Challenger).
  3. The relevance of respectful feedback conversations on each level to highlight the key dimensions leading to psychological safety, belonging, and alignment.
  4. Different communication styles and how they impact the establishment of psychological safety.
  5. How to build psychological safety through meaningful conversations and feedback in an organisation (being also part of a team or teams) to create a healthy feedback culture.
  6. Applying these principles and skills in your particular context (as a manager, mediator, or leader).


Join us for the last Mediator Professional Development session of the year to find out more about psychological safety. You will learn the following in this three-hour session:

  1. What the concept of 'psychological safety' means and where it comes from.
  2. The difference between 'safety' and 'comfort' or 'being nice'
  3. The 4 levels of psychological safety.
  4. How mediators work to ensure psychological safety in the manner in which they manage the mediation process.
  5. The manifestations and triggers of not feeling safe.
  6. Dealing with emotionally demanding conversations to ensure psychological safety.
  7. The role mediators can play in promoting psychological safety between individuals and within teams in organisations.

We will also review two mediation case studies (one commercial case and one workplace case) to demonstrate how to manage psychological safety.

Karen TheunissenFelicity Steadman, and Siham Boda will lead the session.

DATES: 17 November 2023

TIME: 10.00 to 13.00


PRICE: R1 132.50 including VAT (free places reserved for CD Panel members)