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Why psychological safety is essential to fight racism

None of us can or should ignore what is happening in the U.S. and around the world right now. Racism is discussed with a new and necessary sense of urgency. Many people who are not directly affected by racism tend to keep quiet about topics regarding race because they fear to be seen as prejudiced. However, staying quiet in a situation of injustice makes things worse.

What companies must realize is that employees not only require physical security as an absolute baseline but also psychological safety. Psychological safety is “being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career” (Kahn 1990). Every employee should feel safe and comfortable to show themselves without fear of rejection based on race, minority status or other kinds of prejudices. Psychological safety is one key component of high-performing teams and every member of the team takes responsibility for creating this psychological safety.