3 Ways To Create A Culture Of Safety During A Time Of Crisis

During a time of crisis, it’s important that your team feels safe.

(And I don’t mean physical safety… I’m assuming that’s given.)

Your team needs to feel safe to give you feedback you won’t like. They need to feel safe to provide input you might not agree with. They need to feel safe to collaborate and explore ideas, even if it entails risk.

But unfortunately, many leaders respond poorly in high-stress situations, making their team feel unsafe.

They get upset and take it out on their team. They scream and they curse. They blame and point out faults. They react in a passive-aggressive way. They are corrosive acid during a time when they need to be refreshing water.

So here are 3 ways you can avoid this and communicate safety to your team during a time of crisis.

1. Hug your messengers

In order for your team to feel safe, they need to know that their feedback will be embraced… even if it’s negative feedback. Because this is exactly the kind of feedback you need to hear when facing a crisis.

You need to know where the bottlenecks and inefficiencies are. You need to know where and why the failures keep happening. You need to know what must be changed… even if that change has to be you.

If you’re not getting this kind of feedback because of lack of safety, it becomes unnecessarily difficult to power through and solve a crisis.

So make sure you’re communicating safety by embracing those who give you negative feedback. Hug them (… if it’s appropriate) and let them know you needed to hear it.

2. Actively invite input

You don’t need to have all the answers. Let go of some of the burden on your shoulders by acknowledging this truth.

You have a team with brains in their heads, passion in their hearts, and skills in their hands. Use them. Maximize them. And trust them to help you solve the crisis.

Don’t cripple your team by refusing to invite input.

A crisis, more than any other time, is when you need your team’s imagination, skills, and talents the most. Give them some freedom to explore where their intellect, intuition, and skills can take them (all with some measure of accountability and responsibility, of course).

Make your team feel safe by actively inviting their input.

3. Embrace fun

“Embrace fun? We’re facing a crisis and you want us to embrace fun??”


Should the issues be taken seriously? Yes, definitely. Should there be high intensity in the workplace to solve the problem? Of course! Should you hold your team to the highest standard of excellence and accountability? 100%.

But you should also embrace fun.

Fun is a means to create a sense of belonging and community in your team. When your team is having fun — when they’re laughing, and joking, and teasing — it’s a sign that they feel safe and connected.

And during a time of crisis, you want your team to feel safe and connected. Don’t let the shadow of threat rob your team of joy and a feeling of safety.

Embrace fun.

Here’s the gist…

During a crisis, it is important that your team feels safe. Because only in a culture of safety will your team be able to thrive.

Here are 3 ways you can do that:

  1. Hug your messengers
  2. Actively invite input
  3. Embrace fun

Will these be difficult to do? You can count on it. It’s not our natural instinct to respond this way during a crisis. But make these a habit and you will be able to communicate safety to your team whether or not you’re facing a crisis.

Thank you for reading and I hope you got the gist!

If you know anyone who needs to read this, go ahead and share it with them!

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