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Psychological safety and the need for security are powerful de-railers for teams when not satisfied. Psychologist Mia Kellmer Pringle surmised that children have four needs in order to thrive. Let’s examine how you might use these to help curate the environment that supports this in your team.

Psychological safety and security are two incredibly powerful de-railers when they are not satisfied.  Perhaps because they tap into our oldest survival instincts designed to keep us alive.  Psychologist Mia Kellmer Pringle surmised that children have four needs in order to thrive; the need for love and security, the need for new experiences, the need for praise and recognition and the need for responsibility. The needs of our employees, the humans behind the resource, are no different.  Let’s examine how you might use these as a lens to help you curate the environment that supports this, the most basic of needs in your people.


In a business context this is about belonging.  Knowing our place in the team.  Knowing the guard rails, understanding the boundaries within which we work and know what good looks like.  Think about creating a definition of success in your team:

  • What does success look like in terms of behaviours?  What is unacceptable?  What is valued by you and the organisation? 

  • How do you do business?  What is each team member accountable for?  How will you all hold each other to account?

  • How do you want people to respond to failure?  What formality can you wrap around failure to ensure a safe to fail environment without compromising overall performance?


In business this is about growth and development.  Even those who don’t want to progress hierarchically often desire stretch and variation in their role to keep their brains fresh and motivation up, which in turn ensures they feel confident and secure in their role.  Think about how you can create opportunities for growth and success in your team:

  • What can you offer in terms of support for your team members’ growth and development?

  • What is down to the individual?  What processes or boundaries are they working within?

  • What needs to be investment by each team member to stand still?  Where is their opportunity for stretch?


In business this is no different, and includes the importance of feedback.  A thank you goes a long way for morale but direct feedback, raising awareness of strengths, empowers team members to continue to deliver and improve.  Think about what this might look like in your team:

  • How can you ensure you consistently praise and reward performance?  Even when good performance is consistent?

  • What does feedback look like in your team?  Does it just focus on the negative?  Does it avoid constructive actionable critique?

  • How might you recognise specific contribution and embed strengths awareness in the feedback you give? How actionable is the critique you give?

  • Who is responsible for feedback?  How could this be embedded as more of a team wide culture?


Micromanaging and not delegating to ‘protect’ your team or ensure things are done ‘right’, so as not to impact performance, does not leave your team feeling secure or psychologically safe.  It is dis-empowering, a source of frustration and drives people to disengage and lose ownership. Think about how you might nurture an environment where your team feel safe to take responsibility:

  • How are you delegating?  Are the guard rails and expectations clear?

  • How do you measure success?  Is it transparent and consistent?

  • How clear are the team on where responsibility lies?  What accountability is in place?

  • How do you deal with under performance?  Is there opportunity for learning and growth?


Tracy James is a Berkshire based Team and Leadership coach specialising in SME, Tech and Marketing. She works with existing and aspiring leaders looking to up-level, achieve fulfilment and lead effectively and authentically with intentional influence and impact. Subscribe to her newsletter at, connect with her @brightyellowcoaching, or book a free discovery call to discuss what you could achieve together.

Tracy James – PCC

Tracy James – PCC

Life and Team & Leadership Coach

Life and work can feel fast paced and full of expectations, challenges and stuff and things to fill our time with – not all of them in line with who we want to be and how we want to feel. Often our mindset can be the biggest blocker to creating the changes that move us closer to that - whether that be confidence, understanding your preferences or purpose, knowing your values and what’s truly important to you, self-awareness or ability to stretch outside of a well-worn in comfort zone. My purpose as a Team & Leadership and Life & Career coach is support you in achieving the self-awareness and empathy required to know your purpose and what feels right for you. To support you in overcoming blockers – whether internal or external. To help you understand and mobilise your unique strengths and superpowers whilst mitigating your development areas, and to help you formulate and implement informed, realistic and viable action plans. In other words, help you get clarity, find purpose, smash blockers and move forward in your life and your career. I am an accredited to PCC level with the ICF, trained with Barefoot Coaching and studied Business and Personal Coaching with the University of Chester. I pull on an eclectic mix of techniques from systemic and leadership methodologies, to values and strengths tools that I tailor in personalised programmes for each of my clients. I work particularly effectively with those seeking to move forward from emotional drains such as anxiety, lack of confidence or loss and towards a more purposeful life and career and in supporting leaders to lead with authenticity, influence and confident impact. I offer a free 30-minute discovery session to help you find out more about the process and how we might work together. From here you will take away a personalised programme proposal to review to help you decide on the best way forward for you. If you would like to explore this further please book your free discovery session here If you would like to know what my clients say, check out my testimonials here