Creating a Positive Work Environment

A positive work environment is all about the culture of the company, which is bolstered by the hiring and firing practices of the company, the policies of the company, and the energy and attitude of the company’s employees. 

Creating Psychological Safety 

A positive work environment can be created by creating psychological safety for employees.  High-performing teams have a high degree of psychological safety, as they are willing to take risks, give feedback, be creative, and speak their mind (Delizonna, 2017).  People who feel safe build more rewarding human relationships where empathy is more prevalent. This type of environment yields higher levels of trust, higher levels of engagement, more analytical reasoning, and more cooperative relationships, which creates positive emotions such as curiosity, confidence, and inspiration (Delizonna, 2017).  A psychologically safe environment is usually free of discrimination and has a high level of diversity.  People are free to ask questions and develop new ideas, behaviors, and beliefs (Edmondson & Hugander, 2021). 

To create a psychologically safe environment, discrimination needs to be rooted out as it is a psychological stressor and impediment to open communication, rather than an enabler.  Likewise, bullying creates an environment that is stressful, creates drama, and is in opposition to honest collaboration (Mayhew, 2018). 

One way to create a psychologically safe environment is to adopt a blameless culture.  Refuse to blame.  Look for root causes and reasons for issues, but replace blame with curiosity (Delizonna, 2017).  Employees need to be able to feel free to take risks, innovate, experiment, give feedback, and communicate freely without fear of blame. 

Another way to create a psychologically safe environment is to normalize vulnerability (Edmondson & Hugander, 2021) and practice giving and receiving feedback often (Delizonna, 2017).  People that are familiar with receiving feedback do not feel attacked when feedback is given to them.  People that are familiar with giving feedback do not feel pressured to soften or alter their feedback, and they are free to speak honestly.  It takes a lot of practice to give and receive feedback, and it should be done very often. 

Creating a blameless culture and a culture that is strong at giving and receiving feedback sets a platform for psychological safety.  It is important, as well, to crush office politics and office gossip that is detrimental to performance, creates cliques, and creates opposition and friction (Mayhew, 2018). 

Creating Collaborative Environments Where Employees Feel Valued 

Positive employees with high levels of job satisfaction feel valued and feel that they have a high self-worth in the organization.  They are accountable for their tasks and performance, and they are empowered to work autonomously.  This concept is supported by psychological safety since they are not afraid to lose power and understand that they can make decisions as needed for their position and tasks (Wellbeing Works, n.d.).  Employees should feel empowered and enabled to cooperate and collaborate as needed. 

Negative Feelings and Behaviors 

Although positivity is usually preferred, it is important for people to be free to express negativity in a constructive way when they have it.  People can be negative for constructive reasons.  For instance, an industry expert may be highly disappointed when something is done incorrectly or falsely, and they may speak and act to correct the problem (McLeod, 2018).  Sometimes they are negative when doing this and may be angry.  Imagine a doctor who is angry at an easily preventable rookie mistake made by one of her staff.  This negativity needs to be channeled in a constructive way and needs to be transformed into constructive feedback for a teachable moment.  One does not blame the doctor for being negative in such a circumstance. 

Since negativity can ruin trust, open lines of communication, and quality of feedback, It is important for the person experiencing negativity to be coached into transforming that negativity into something constructive that the whole team can benefit from.  An open and trusting team with a culture of psychological safety should be able to help turn that person’s negativity into a fast feedback loop. 


Delizonna, L. (2017, August 24). High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It. Retrieved from 

Edmondson, A. & Hugander, P. (2021, June 22). 4 Steps to Boost Psychological Safety at Your Workplace. Retrieved from 

Mayhew, R. (2018, November 28). How does behavior affect work performance? Bizfluent. 

McLeod, S. (2018). Attitudes and behaviors. Simply Psychology. 

Wellbeing Works. (n.d.). Psychological Safety: Autonomy, Workload and Job Satisfaction. Retrieved from 

by Arthur Ocain

Published by Art Ocain

I am a DevOps advocate, not because I am a developer (I’m not), but because of the cultural shift it represents and the agility it gains. I am also a fan of the theory of constraints and applying constraint management to all areas of business: sales, finance, planning, billing, and all areas of operations. My speaking: I have done a lot of public speaking in my various roles over the years, including presentations at SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and Central PA Chamber of Commerce events as well as events that I have organized at MePush. My writing: I write a lot. Blog articles on the MePush site, press-releases for upcoming events to media contracts, posts on LinkedIn (, presentations on Slideshare (, posts on the Microsoft Tech Community, articles on Medium (, and posts on Quora ( I am always looking for new places to write, as well. My certifications: ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Web Application Security Professional (CWASP), Certified Data Privacy Practitioner (CDPP), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), VMware Certified Professional (VCP-DCV), Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE), Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE), Microsoft 365 Security Administrator, Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator, Azure Administrator, Azure Security Administrator, Azure Architect, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, ITIL v4 Foundations, Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner See certification badges on Acclaim here: My experience: I have a lot of experience from developing a great company with great people and culture to spinning up an impressive DevOps practice and designing impressive solutions. I have been a project manager, a President, a COO, a CTO, and an incident response coordinator. From architecting cloud solutions down to the nitty-gritty of replacing hardware, I have done it all. When it comes to technical leadership, I am the go-to for many companies. I have grown businesses and built brands. I have been a coach and a mentor, developing the skills and careers of those in my company. I have formed and managed teams, and developed strong leaders and replaced myself within the company time and again as I evolved. See my experience on LinkedIn here:

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