Psychological Safety as the Foundation for Inclusion 

In 2022, Lysna Nordic embarked on a journey with Byggeriets Samfundsansvar to measure, raise awareness of, and provide tools to improve psychological safety in the construction industry.
With a blend of research-based tools, our goal was to understand and address the underlying challenges affecting psychological safety and team dynamics on construction sites.

A fascinating aspect of these methods is their deep-rooted foundation in research. It is astonishing that it's possible to 'objectify' psychological safety, good collaboration, and the ability to achieve results using the 'Team Communication Mirror'.

Why We Started...

Our journey was initiated by invitation from Byggeriets Samfundsansvar - an association that brings together stakeholders across the construction value chain to promote sustainable development. The association identifies challenges and focuses on trouble spotting - "Where does the shoe pinch" to ensure a sustainable future of the industry..

Where Does the Shoe Pinch?

The 'Room for Everyone in Construction' project - an analysis from 2020, revealed that a 'tough but loving tone' meant many minorities either left construction or survived through coping strategies. Our analysis could expand on this, showing that surprisingly many - including most men - do not thrive with the tone. The way communication occurs, especially in larger forums, hinders psychological safety and constructive, productive collaboration.

So, What Happened?

Through careful analysis and data collection, Lysna revealed crucial insights on the state of psychological safety in the construction sector. The results exposed, e.g. a significant gap between perceived levels of psychological safety between employees and leaders, highlighting a need for interventions. 

Most questions were answered on a 1 to 5 Likert scale, 1 being low and 5 being the best. We regard 4 a good score and 5 a very good score. 



Several challenges emerged from the analysis, including inadequate handling of mistakes, an imbalance in the distribution of praise and criticism (employees at the bottom of the hierarchy and minorities often experienced criticism rather than support), and issues such as poor communication between professional groups and unclear work processes. Additionally, leaders not only felt secure themselves but also perceived their employees as more secure than they actually felt. Together, these challenges contributed to a sense of insecurity and hindered productive collaboration.
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Lysna employed a multidimensional approach to gain the best picture of challenges. The main tools were the 'Team Diagnosis,' a questionnaire with +60 questions, and the 'Team Communication Mirror,' which provided a good understanding of the current issues. After data collection, Lysna facilitated feedback sessions with leaders, fostering dialogue and reflection on the results. Furthermore, based on the Team Communication Mirror, behavioural guidance was provided to strengthen leaders and teams in promoting a culture of psychological safety and better results creation. This occurred after data collection, where the results were presented at each construction site in workshops, where the group received feedback and discussed the results.

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Workshops provided an opportunity to understand and reflect on how psychological safety on the site could be improved. The effect of the effort ran deep in most places! Particularly, the Team Communication Analysis received extremely positive feedback, with several reporting improved and more effective meetings. This included including the quieter ones, reducing personal teasing, and increasing attention to task distribution. This created a more inclusive and secure environment, promoting greater ownership of tasks and collective results.
A significant purpose was also to raise awareness of psychological safety and its' impact in the industry through a report and 'self-help' insights, tools and videos - now made available through a designated webpage created by Byggeriets Samfundsansvar (click to visit (Danish).

Our Five Key Recommendations for Further Work on
Improving Psychological Safety in Construction

Strengthen leaders' skills with a focus on psychological safety and inclusion. Build knowledge and a toolbox to create a culture that encourages collaboration to deliver the right quality at the right time


Strengthen leaders' skills with a focus on psychological safety and inclusion.
Build knowledge and a toolbox to create a culture that encourages collaboration to deliver the right quality at the right time.


Initiate a dialogue on the development of the piecework model to promote collaboration across professional fields and ensure better results.


Delve into the learning perspective and understand that the learning process is crucial for a bright future for the industry. Incorporate the understanding that construction projects will have numerous unknown factors that need to be matched with apprentices' learning process to reduce their vulnerability as the weakest link in the chain. To train others requires qualifications that experienced colleagues should be familiar with.


Establish transparency about the use of managerial rights and ensure safe, anonymous and numerous channels for constructive and concrete handling of employee inquiries.


Here’s the mini report on psychological safety
in the building industry