The Link Between Emotional Intelligence and Psychological Safety

Hint: you can’t have the second without the first

Liz Garrett
3 min readMar 28, 2022


Photo by Edge2Edge Media on Unsplash

In a recent study of successful teams, Google found that the SINGLE BIGGEST PREDICTOR of team success is psychological safety. Yet, it can be very challenging for a Leader to gauge levels of psychological safety in their organization, let alone increase it. The costs of a team that is fearful, defensive and withholding can be enormous and painful, but where do you even begin to get a handle on this nebulous beast to turn things around?

This may help. These are my notes from a recent webinar by Genos International, a world leader in workplace Emotional Intelligence. If you prefer, watch the entire replay here: The Link Between Emotional Intelligence and Psychological Safety — Genos International Europe (

The hallmark of psychologically safe cultures is a willingness to take interpersonal risks. People are more willing to:

  • Speak up with an answer to a problem
  • Challenge the “way we do things”
  • Ask questions
  • Offer input and suggestions for improvement

Amy Edmonson, author of “The Fearless Organization” defines Psychological Safety as:

  • A belief held by members of a team that it is safe for interpersonal risk-taking
  • A sense of confidence that speaking up will not result in rejection, punishment or embarrassment by members of the team
  • A team environment of respect and interpersonal trust where people feel comfortable being themselves

Psychological Safety is NOT:

  • About everyone being a “nice guy”
  • Sacrificing standards for comfort and peace
  • Accepting all ideas as equally valuable for the sake of team harmony
  • About eliminating all conflict
  • Just another word for trust

Here is the key point: “Psychological Safety is impossible without Emotional Intelligence” (Timothy R. Clarke, “The 4 Stages of…



Liz Garrett

Exploring whole-being well-being in the workplace. Sharing fun and free resources at