Psychological Safety On Software Development

Mert Akkaya
2 min readAug 12, 2020

Autonomous teams need to roll. To roll, teams must make decisions. To make decisions teams must take risks. If the employees are full of fear, are not independent or afraid to take decisions / can not defend the results, then it is hard to reach success.

Managers need to keep employees on a correct stress level.To manage the stress on the teams, managers need to take care with the stressor elements. There are two types of stressors: Eustress and Distress. With the correct amount of eustress people will be encouraged to do & achieve more but when the stressors is more than the abilities or can-do-nothing problems, it affects performance on a negative way.


So, as humans we need challenges which matches with our abilities to perform high. We love taking them down and reach success. And if we’re biting more than to chew, performance goes down.

Teams need to perform high, and be able to take risks when needed. So what can you do about it?

  1. Measure Routinely

Measure teams psychological safety routinely to make sure if something harms the team. Do it on 1:1s, run surveys with the team, even use tools like Team Mood, Friday Pulse, Happy Index and so on. Measure the teams morale, try to understand what is said and unsaid.

2. Lead By Example

People are tend to follow their leaders. Lead them by example to create a better safe zone. Show your vulnerable sides to the team, admit it when you make a mistake honestly, make healthy conflicts with your team mates, embrace active listening. Show them being vulnerable, or being technically wrong is OK.

3. Create Safe Zones

People can not say every truth on every place. It is sometimes the crowd-effect, sometimes just being shy and so on. Create safe zones to your teams where they can say their thoughts without fear. 1:1s and team retrospectives can be good on those things.

4. Own the Mistakes

We hate losing, we hate doing mistakes especially if it has huge effects. To turn the wrong things to the right, to reduce fear amount inside the teams, sometimes own the mistakes. Turn the huge mistakes to learning lessons.


Psychological safety on teams is a fundamental aspect and can be easily harmed. Not forgetting it, is helpful on long terms success.

Thanks for reading.