The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

179: Creating a Culture of Psychological Safety with Dr. Timothy Clark, founder and CEO of LeaderFactor

Timothy R Clark_2019

Psychological safety is an absolute necessity in order to have innovative, high achieving teams. According to today’s guest, Dr. Timothy Clark, founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, a team’s leader is the cornerstone in creating and fostering this multifaceted safety within its culture.

Tim is a global expert in the fields of senior executive development, strategy acceleration, and organizational change. He is a decorated author, with five published books and more than 150 articles pertaining to these subjects. He has served as CEO of multiple companies, making him a highly sought after coach, advisor, and facilitator to senior leadership teams.

In this episode, Tim defines psychological safety in new terms and why it is so integral to high functioning teams. He shares multiple examples both of teams and leaders experiencing this safety and suffering from its absence. 

Tim walks us through his four steps of psychological safety: inclusion safety, learner safety, contributor safety, and challenger safety, explaining how each level promotes innovation and achievement more than the last. He also delves into the difficulties leaders may have in building this culture, and what they can do to advocate change.

Finally, Tim leaves us with tangible tips for both leaders and wellness professionals.

Don’t forget to share this episode on LinkedIn, tag Jen, and let her know what you learned from this episode for a chance to win a membership to the National Wellness Institute.

This episode is sponsored by Realize Wellbeing. 

Realize Wellbeing is a corporate wellness consulting and training powerhouse on a mission to help companies understand how they’re impacting their own employees’ wellbeing. They are dedicated to transforming workplaces into businesses that exude energy and innovation through their vibrant, thriving people.

Owner, Maggie Gough gets a lot of requests from workplace wellness and HR practitioners who want a fresh perspective on their work and increased capacity for organizational change. In order for Maggie to reach more organizations, she is now offering a brand new Train the Trainer program. 

This 4-week course equips you to bring their innovative strategy to your workplace and also help you expand your efforts beyond health promotion. This course will help you develop new strategies for your company, using the science of self-determination theory and micro-influence. With this new offer, you’ll receive two trainings to deliver to your employees, two fully developed campaigns, a measurement tool, plus four 1:1 coaching sessions with Maggie to support you in implementation.

The April session has limited availability, sign up today! Go to or contact Maggie directly at

Interview Highlights (with timestamps):
  • [7:55] Defining psychological safety and why it’s important
  • [10:35] What teams look like with and without psychological safety
  • [16:00] How leaders affect psychological safety
  • [27:10] Stage one: inclusion safety
  • [29:26] Stage two: learner safety
  • [33:37] Stage three: contributor safety
  • [35:54] Stage four: challenger safety
  • [42:46] The difficulty in creating psychological safety
  • [47:10] Tangible tip for managers and for wellness professionals
Mentioned in this episode:
Full Bio:

Timothy R. Clark is founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, a consulting, coaching, and training organization. Dr. Clark is an international authority in the fields of psychological safety & innovation, large-scale change & transformation, and senior leadership development. He is the author of Epic Change: How to Lead Change in the Global Age (John Wiley/Jossey Bass), Leadership Bones (Bradmore Road Press),

The Employee Engagement Mindset (McGraw-Hill), Leading with Character and Competence:

Moving Beyond Title, Position, And Authority (Berrett-Koehler). His new book, The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation (Berrett-Koehler) will be released March 2020. He is also the developer of the EQometer emotional intelligence assessment.

Dr. Clark is a highly sought-after advisor, coach, and facilitator to CEOs and senior leadership teams. He has personally coached over 100 CEOs and executives and trained many senior teams around the world. Some of his clients include Accenture, American Express, CIGNA, Columbia University, Disney, Dow Chemical, Eli Lilly, Environmental Protection Agency, HCA, Idaho National Laboratory, Honeywell, Intel, Internal Revenue Service, John Hopkins University, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Motorola, NASA, Riverbed Technology, Sprint, Stanford University, U.S. Department of Treasury, and Wells Fargo Bank.

Dr. Clark earned a PhD in social science from Oxford University, and was both a British Research Scholar and a Fulbright Scholar at Seoul National University in Korea. He also earned a master’s degree in Government and economics from the University of Utah. As an undergraduate at Brigham Young University, he was named a first-team Academic All-American football player where he completed a triple degree cum laude.

Dr. Clark was previously President and CEO of Decker, a consulting firm based in San Francisco, and CEO of Novations SDC, a consulting and training firm based in Boston. Prior to these assignments, Dr. Clark spent several years in manufacturing and as a vice president of operations and plant manager at Geneva Steel Company. He began his career as a survey research project director for what is now Harris Interactive in Washington D.C.