If our objective is to ensure our employees realise their full potential and thereby contribute optimally to achieving the company’s targets, it is of ultimate importance that the relations contribute to a culture that supports and promotes development.


As leader, your behaviour not only plays a role in your human relationships with your employees. It also plays a critical role in the company culture. Culture is important to employee engagement. And employee engagement has a significant effect on results. But which culture is the right culture?

A recent study at Google showed that a critical difference between teams with a high performance level versus teams with a low performance level is the feeling of “psychological safety”. Psychological safety can be defined as a cultural norm that says it is okay that you are part of the team, no matter what your flaws and shortcomings may be. The feeling of being 100% accepted will enable you to spend your energy on developing your potential and creating results rather than hiding your weaknesses. Intuitively, it also makes sense that, if a team is to be able to realise its full potential, all strengths and weaknesses need to be brought out into the open.

A team or organisation with a high degree of psychological safety is able to use the team’s resources more efficiently, as they can assign the right person to a task without having to consider politics, hierarchy, norms, etc. These teams are also typically better at listening to each other and handling disagreements in a constructive and developing way.