Today I’m joined by Dr Rebecca Michalak, a professional chameleon who is curious about workplace monsters, knows more about the dark underside of the legal industry than almost anyone, and has a mission to change the way we think about psychological safety and creating great places to work.

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Rebecca Michalak will be speaking at the 2018 Safetyscape convention, part of the new events offering from the Safety Institute of Australia on from the 22nd to 24th of May in Melbourne. The inaugural #SAFETYSCAPE Convention will enable an array of organisations to assemble as the largest gathering of Health & Safety Industry professionals across a program of events, workshops, forums and the Safety Institute of Australia’s own two day National Health & Safety Conference: In Practice along with the Workplace Health & Safety Show. But don’t forget, as I’ve been saying for a while – most of your learning and in turn performance will come from social and experiential learning – so whilst the knowledge you will gain will be great, it’s even better to meet new peers and strengthen relationships with your network, share stories and reflections from your own experience. I’ll be there, I’m speaking about non-safety practices to improve your effectiveness, as well as alongside a group of YSPers sharing our professional journeys. But I really want to have a cuppa with you.

Visit to find out more and get your ticket, I hope to see you there.

Here’s Rebecca:


It’s kinda funny that we ended up with two back to back episodes about psychological safety, Ep79 with Amanda Jones and today with Rebecca. I spent a little time wondering whether that was a good thing or not, and then stopped worrying. See, I missed the point – that having diverse points of view on the same things is a great way to learn, to have our perspectives challenged. So, if you haven’t already, go back and Listen to ep79 and do a little compare and contrast – what resonated with you? What was similar, what was different?

Here’s my three takeaways from that chat with Rebecca:

Takeaway #1: Think about how you present your messages. We acknowledged that this psychological safety area is complex, and can become complicated when it comes to communication and what we try to do inside our organisations. Bec used a simple visual metaphor for the challenge, fifty shades of grey, and tied it back to the movie which is both contemporary and memorable. That’s what I call a sticky way to communicate, and no doubt helps her connect and engage better because of it. How are you framing your complex ideas?

Takeaway #2: Most organisations are grey. Shades of grey reinforces the idea that you can add drops of white, or black, gradually, subtly. So, how are you building this into your strategy or plan? What are the enabling skills or knowledge? How does this tie in with your HR friends? Like we said, much of this won’t look like traditional safety – it might be enabling people to intervene, to have RUOK conversations, to embrace and manage conflict….whatever it is, is it a part of your strategy or plan?

Takeaway #3: Bec’s more controversial suggestion is that HR complaints management is flawed for many reasons when dealing with black coloured behaviour, and the safety context is advantageous for many reasons. That’s very mature thinking, the kind of uncomfortable but important stuff we as leaders need to reflect upon and maybe take action on. I don’t really have an informed view on that specific example either way, but the hidden message is the strength of taking on the status quo even when it’s tough, because it’s a good idea, not because [someone ended up in a national newspaper and that’s gotten us a bit skittish.

You can find out more about Dr Becs by [connecting with her on Linkedin or Twitter, her handle is @drbecs, or heading to

Until next time, what’s the one thing you’ll do to take positive, effective or rewarding action, to grow yourself, and drastically improve health and safety along the way. Seeya!

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