SUMMARY: The Psychologically Safe Leader Assessment (PSLA) helps leaders assess and address their skills related to psychological health and safety. It draws on evidence showing that employees who work for psychologically safe leaders are more likely to report higher job satisfaction and engagement, better workplace relationships, and better psychological well-being
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PSLA Pilot Project with LakeRidge Health:
Please contact Dr. Joti Samra directly at info@drjotisamra.com if you are participating in the pilot.

Why leader competency in psychological health and safety matters

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) acknowledges the need for organizations to ensure that those in leadership roles have the training and skills to “prevent psychological harm, promote psychological health of workers, and address problems related to psychological health and safety.” It also states that the organization should establish and sustain processes to assess and address leaders for this competency.

The Psychologically Safe Leader Assessment (PSLA) was developed by a team of researchers, led by Dr. Joti Samra, R. Psych, University of Fredericton (UFred), as a confidential resource to help assess and improve the psychological health and safety skills of leaders.

The PSLA correlates to the broader psychosocial factors described in the Standard. The five core domains included in the PSLA are those within the influence and control of individual leaders:

  1. Communication & Collaboration
  2. Social Intelligence
  3. Problem Solving & Conflict Management
  4. Security & Safety
  5. Fairness & Integrity

Read More about the domain definitions and how high or low scores may impact work teams.

It can also be helpful to review the FAQ prior to conducting your self-assessment.

To take the self-assessment visit the University of Fredericton Psychologically Safe Leader website.

A printable version of the PSLA is also available for leaders who want to review the questions or do not have access to the online version.

The benefits of assessing and addressing psychological health and safety skills

The PSLA is a strengths-based assessment tool that draws on evidence showing that leaders have a strong influence on employee well-being. Employees who work for psychologically safe leaders are more likely to report higher job satisfaction and engagement, better workplace relationships, and better psychological health.

An important component of the PLSA is the Psychologically Safe Leader Assessment: Employee Feedback (PSLA-E), which can be conducted with employees who report directly to the leader to determine how their perspectives compare with the self-assessment.

Take the assessment

Visit the University of Fredericton Psychologically Safe Leader website to begin access the PSLA-E. Instructions and an email template for conducting the PSLA-E are also available there. A fillable PDF to review the questions or to print for those whose employees do not have access to computers, is also available.

Taking action on your results

Developing an action plan to strengthen and enhance leadership skills may seem overwhelming at first. You can start by picking just one area to improve before moving onto others. Selecting one area, brainstorming specific actions, and setting a timeline to complete them, can help ensure a more reasonable, measurable and sustainable approach. You can then continue to develop strategies for addressing additional areas you want to strengthen.

Free, relevant and evidence-based tools and resources are provided to help you get started once you’ve received the results of both your PSLA and, if you’ve chosen to do so, the PSLA-E.

  • Review the Action Planning slideshow (Accessible version of Action Plan) that includes suggested responses for each of the items in the assessment and links to free resources that can help you strengthen each relevant skill.
  • Fill out the Action Plan – Commitment Form to identify specific, measurable actions you will take in one of the core domains.
  • Fill in the Action Plan Worksheets to consider strategies to continue or begin in all of the domains.

You can take the PSLA as many times as you wish. Completing the PSLA on a yearly, or every other year basis, coupled with a realistic, ongoing action plan can help strengthen your leadership skills with respect to psychological safety, and become a practical strategy for continual improvement.