Do you feel a sense of belonging at work? Or do you spend time and energy trying to fit in? Do you downplay any part of who you are? Do you feel safe being vulnerable with colleagues? Cultivating a sense of belonging and psychological safety is crucial for innovation, creativity, and risk-taking, yet most of us don’t feel comfortable bringing our whole selves to work.

Today, we explore the concepts of belonging and psychological safety, describing what it looks and feels like when these attributes are present—or absent—in work culture. We discuss Brené Brown’s research on the distinction between belonging and fitting in and explain how our sense of belonging impacts our performance at work.

We go on to introduce the idea of psychological safety and describe its role as a core competency of high-functioning teams. Listen in for insight around how leaders show up in organizations with high psychological safety and learn how creating intentional connections inspires engagement at work!


Themes explored in this week’s episode:

  • Katie’s comprehensive definition of belonging and our search for belonging at work
  • Brené Brown’s qualitative grounded theory research around fitting in vs. belonging
  • The differences among diversity, inclusion, and belonging + how belonging impacts our performance at work
  • What belonging feels like and the mental energy exhausted in its absence
  • The definition of psychological safety and its role as a core competency of high-functioning teams
  • The characteristics of an organization with high psychological safety + how its leaders show up
  • Tegan’s simple exercise for gauging the level of psychological safety on your team
  • What it looks like when we don’t feel safe at work and the connection between psychological safety and abundance
  • Why disengaged workers give their time—but not their energy and passion
  • The value in creating intentional connections in the work environment


Resources from this episode:


We would love to hear from you! Have an idea for a podcast or a question you want us to address? Interested in additional support, resources and workshops? Here are all the ways you can interact with us!


Quotes from the episode:


“Psychological safety simply means that team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other.”

“If we think about what we’re asked to do at work—innovate, ideate, create, take risks—if we don’t feel safe to be vulnerable in front of each other, none of that happens.”

“Playing it safe is not where innovation happens.”

“When there’s not psychological safety, you can hear a pin drop. The silence is deafening.”

“When we are feeling safe, the hallmark behavior is that there’s room for us to share, and there is room for everyone else as well. There’s not a scarcity factor in organizations that have high psychological safety.”

“What is your go-to response when you do not feel psychological safety in your group or team?”


“When we think of belonging, it has to be able to honor the individual, honor the whole person, but then honor the group commitment as well.”

“We go to work in search of belonging and purpose, and then when we don’t experience that, we feel off.”

“People are hardwired to belong and love and be loved, and when … we don’t have those things, we don’t function as we’re supposed to.” –Brené Brown

“If we’re not building organizations to show that we’re willing to put not just time, but energy and passion towards our people, the people will not give us more than time.”

“I missed some opportunities to show up as my whole self in some of the work that I’ve done because I was trying to live up to the role I was in.”

“My hope is that when we bring the words to the forefront, and people have the ways to describe it, that we can actually start to be more intentional about creating belonging and safety.”

“Do your actions at work reward authenticity? Or fitting in?”

How do you create belonging at work?

We go to work for more than a paycheck, we go for a sense of belonging. So what does belonging look like? Get the Belonging Resource Guide to learn new ideas on how individuals, leaders, and organizations can help people feel safe, loved and whole at work.

You have Successfully Subscribed!