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  • Writer's pictureSallina Jeffrey

Building Psychological Safety in the Workplace, Through Trust and Emotional Intelligence.

When studying for my MBA, I became fascinated and a little obsessed with the elements that contribute to a high-performing organisational culture. I was curious to understand; if trust builds high-performing teams, how does a leader build high-trust teams when there are differing leadership styles? Because as we know, different leadership styles produce different outputs in their people. After reading research papers and secondary data (and I mean hours), I uncovered that emotional intelligence, trust, and psychological safety are interconnected concepts that impact individual and team performance and overall organisational success.

Let's delve into these emotions, emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognize and manage one's own emotions, as well as the feelings of others. Individuals with high emotional intelligence are generally better at regulating emotions and communicating effectively with others. They are also more likely to be empathetic and understanding of others' perspectives.

Trust is another important factor in building strong relationships and achieving success in teams and organisations. Trust is built over time through consistent behaviour, communication, and transparency. When people trust each other, they are more likely to collaborate effectively, take risks, and support one another.

Psychological safety refers to the belief that one can speak up, take risks, and express oneself without fear of negative consequences. When individuals feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to contribute their ideas and perspectives, which can lead to innovation and better decision-making.

There is a clear link between emotional intelligence, trust, and psychological safety. When individuals have high emotional intelligence, they are better able to build trust and create a psychologically safe environment. Trust is built through effective communication, which is facilitated by emotional intelligence. And when people feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to trust others and communicate openly, which can lead to stronger relationships and better team performance.

Developing emotional intelligence, building trust, and fostering psychological safety is fundamental in creating a positive, productive, high-performing work environment. By prioritizing these factors, organizations can build strong teams that are more innovative, collaborative, and successful. The lovely piece in my research is that emotional intelligence can be learnt and taught; organisations that fail to prioritise emotional intelligence in their organisations risk having low-performing teams and high attrition.


Sallina Jeffrey

Founder and CEO

The Mentoring Movement PTY LTD (TMM)


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