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“So if you really want to incubate innovation, you cannot ignore the culture. You do so at your peril, because there is no way that you can ignore the culture. I understood that before, but not at the depth that I understand it today.” – Timothy Clark

As humans, we want to be included and to contribute, and psychological safety is an inborn human need. We want to challenge the status quo when we believe things need to change, all without fear of being embarrassed, punished, or marginalized. Unfortunately, when organizations quash psychological safety, fear reigns and people shut down. But as today’s Finding Brave expert guest reveals, when psychological safety is nurtured, there’s an explosion of confidence, innovation, and performance.

Timothy R. Clark is the founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, a leadership consulting and training organization that works with executive teams around the world. An Oxford-trained social scientist and sought-after international authority on organizational change, Dr. Clark is the author of five books on leadership, including his newest release, The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation.

In this episode Timothy shares how the absence of physical safety is fraught with peril, and that condition can inflict devastating emotional wounds, crater self-worth, and paralyze potential. The fact is, in today’s highly dynamic marketplace, organizations that lack psychological safety are actually galloping their way to extinction.

Highlights from this Episode:

  • What Timothy means when he says “it’s not expensive to be yourself” – and why this is such an important concept to understand [2:50]

  • How psychological safety differs for men and women, based on what he has seen [5:42]

  • What happens to the talent in an organization if it doesn’t provide psychological safety to all employees [6:55]

  • How we often justify superiority, and the way we can begin to dismantle this feeling by deconstructing certain biases [14:57]

  • The four stages of psychological safety [20:44]

  • The single biggest obstacle to innovation that all organizations must address immediately [24:02]

  • What people can do to make a lasting change in their organization, regardless of what position they hold [28:17]

  • The biggest surprise that Tim has discovered in the work that he does [35:05]

For More Information:

Resources Mentioned: 

Timothy’s Latest Book, The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation & His Other Works 

Kathy’s Forbes Interview with Timothy Clark, How Your Leadership Can Build Desperately-Needed Psychological Safety Today

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“Gender-based differences are very evident in many organizations, and this is a legacy from the past.” [5:45]

“A leader, by virtue of the position, is never a neutral actor.” [11:07]

“Hubris, arrogance and narcissism are all occupational hazards if you are a manager or leader. All that’s going to do is get in your way.” [19:55]

“Psychological safety is the combination of respect and permission coming together.” [22:32]

“How do you influence? The most important way is through your modelling behavior. You have to pay attention to this, because if you’re not walking the talk, then all bets are off.” [28:38]

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1 Comment

  1. Kim Derderian

    Kathy, you do terrific work that I’ve been enjoying and learning from for years. This podcast is a great example. Thank you!

    One suggestion if I may: Ask one “powerful” question at a time. There’s no need to layer your questions. .

    As a result, I’m wondering if I missed something? Timothy Clark was going to share three things managers (and individual contributors) can do to help create a culture of Psychological Safety. I noted 1) being influential by modeling the desired behavior and 2) demonstrating a track record of Psychological Safety as a criterion for promotion. What is Number 3?

    I’m on the brink of buying his book so I might find out that way!


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