Contact a Safe Space Guide
Back to Blog

TSS #003: A Hard Pill to Swallow

Jun 18, 2023

Welcome to another edition of our Safe Space Sunday newsletter!

Today, we're diving into fear-based learning and the power of safe space facilitation. By understanding the difference and taking the proper steps, you'll unlock a new level of enlightenment, team buy-in, and a sense of trust, meaning, and fun at work.

A positive learning approach is about building resilience and seeing mistakes as opportunities for improvement rather than failures to fear and avoid.

So, what are the bottom-line benefits of this approach?

  1. Better Teamwork: When leaders choose safe learning over fear, trust flourishes within the team. This leads to open conversations about problems and solutions, resulting in quicker issue resolution and better care for patients.

  2. More New Ideas: Without fearing mistakes, healthcare workers can unleash their creativity. They develop fresh and innovative ways to improve processes and deliver exceptional patient care.

  3. Happier Workers: When the workplace becomes a safe space for learning, everyone enjoys their work more. This reduces stress and promotes personal growth. Happy and motivated team members stick around longer, benefiting the entire team, patients, and the healthcare system.

But why do clinical leaders and healthcare executives struggle with this?

"I don't have time for this!"

Leaders often struggle to find time in their busy schedules to create a safe space for their team. However, this puts the human brain on alert, making it challenging to access long-term memory for learning. In reality, leaders who think they're saving time spend more time answering questions and solving problems instead of empowering their teams to find solutions.

"Just follow my instructions!"

Under pressure, leaders rely on giving instructions rather than coaching their team to think independently. This creates dependency and limits team members from taking the initiative.

"Whatever you do, don't make any mistakes!"

When leaders and their teams fear making mistakes, they become defensive and avoid exploring new ideas. This resistance hampers growth and prevents the team from reaching its full potential.

To overcome these challenges, leaders must embrace their uncomfortable feelings and engage in thoughtful inquiries into their thoughts and emotions. This empowers them to create a safe and supportive space for themselves and their team, fostering growth, innovation, and a culture of excellence.

So, let's break down the steps to success:


Step 1: Boost team collaboration and understanding through regular, open, and active communication. Be fully present, reflect and clarify what team members share, and show empathy and validation.


Here's how:

  • Be Present: Give them your full attention when someone talks to you. Focus on what they say, maintain eye contact, and use cues to show you are listening.

  • Reflect and Clarify: Repeat what the person said to ensure you understood. Ask questions if needed. This shows you value their input and want to understand them better.

  • Empathize and Validate: Show understanding and respect for their feelings. Even if you disagree, acknowledge their concerns. This builds trust and encourages open communication.


Step 2: Create a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and psychologically safe to contribute their perspectives. Prioritize regular team meetings, establish expectations for respectful behaviour, and offer mentorship or coaching programs.


Here's how:

  • Effective Team Meetings: Hold regular meetings where team members can share ideas, tackle challenges, and collaborate on solutions. Assign group projects that foster teamwork and support each other's success.

  • Respectful Communication: Set clear expectations for compliant behaviour and communication within the team. Address conflicts promptly and respectfully to promote open dialogue and mutual respect.

  • Mentorship and Recognition: Provide mentorship or coaching programs where experienced team members guide and support others' growth. Celebrate individual achievements and milestones to motivate continuous learning and improvement.


Step 3: Encourage team members to take charge of their personal development. Support their personal goals, foster knowledge sharing, and make learning fun and engaging through gamification.


Here's how:

  • Set Personal Goals: Encourage team members to set their own goals for learning and development. Provide resources and support to help them achieve these goals.

  • Share Knowledge: Create opportunities for team members to share their expertise. Encourage "Lunch and Learn" sessions where they can teach others and share their experiences.

  • Gamify Learning: Make learning enjoyable by adding games and challenges. Create quizzes or competitions with rewards for reaching learning milestones or completing training programs.


By taking these steps, you're building a solid team that communicates openly, solves problems effectively, and brings new ideas to the table. This leads to better patient care and a work environment where everyone feels important, motivated, and inspired.

So, embrace the power of safe space facilitation and watch your healthcare organization thrive.

Thank you for joining me on this Safe Space Sunday. Wishing you a restful and inspiring day. I'll see you next week!

Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

1. If you're still looking for traction with your team, I'd recommend starting with an affordable course:

→ The Safe Space Support System Transform your leadership and your team culture into a high-performance safe space support system regardless of the challenges you're facing in complex situations. This comprehensive course will teach you the system I use to work with hundreds of teams to reduce absenteeism, stress, distress, unaddressed trauma, and disrespectful conduct and communication. Join the Leadership Transformation Here

2. Book me to facilitate a done-with-you service that is performed in person or virtually with you and your team. Book a Facilitation Here 

Facilitate a Safe Space of Trust and Support with Your Healthcare Team!

Join thousands in finding a new way to lead in healthcare by joining the Sunday Safe Space newsletter.

I never sell your information for any reason.