With awareness. This could be the end of the discussion, actually. It’s quite enough. Any more is a form of noise, but I’m good at noise…
First, I often don’t create or hold safe space. Let’s just get that out there. I’m naturally quite confrontational. I like to do it respectfully. For years I just stopped confronting because I’d gone into a mode of disrespectful confrontation. Now I’m back confronting, usually with more awareness and respect.
I think people can see that a lot’s going on that they’re not a part of and so it’s actually UN-safe. Which brings up the possibility of lots of confrontation in a safe space. So, safety is about “coming clean” and being clear about the process, the intent the guidelines. A key guideline is the intention of profound respect. And someone neutrally handling the process and reminding people of various guidelines when the reminder is needed.
A RESULT of a safe space is the process of the participant(s) allows them to get real (like an onion … never ending layers of realness).
Then (back to the title). How do I go about creating this space:
be highly intentional. Share my draft intention. Modify to match the group’s real intention (or clarify my stand for facilitation which requires safety). Cancel the process if they don’t want facilitation but want guaranteed results forced on a group (it’s happened).
– know who the sponsor of an event/discussion is. The sponsor takes responsibilty for the meeting.
– work with sponsor for clarity on the purpose and the givens. Then help them clearly share that with the group before the meeting.
– invite people to come. Noone forced to be there (leads to passive-aggressive stance)
– from the time of accepting the invitation, have all contact and action be aligned with the stated intention. If the intention changes, notify peopel immediately and reinvite.
– name some guidelines (3 is enough for any group) that help clarify the intention of profound respect. These can be speak to be heard / listen to understand / speak from the heart and stop / be curious when you hear something that makes no sense to you (lots more) / welcome silence
– model the behaviour I’m asking for
– explain and model the process I’m leading
– make sure noone is isloated in the group
Here are some things that can happen in a safe space. They can’t be forced but need to come from the group:
ask real questions and model real answer / notice what’s really happening / be aware of nervous behaviour and not get hooked listen intently not laugh as invited, recognize what this indicates and address the underlying unmet need / join anyone who seems dangling alone having given a risky statement
I began this post just saying it’s about awareness. At this point everything pretty much I’ve written is provisional. At times it would be appropriate and at other times not so. So, back to awareness. How do I “create” that? Actually I cultivate and allow that one.
Some practices are … cultivating honest feedback around me. meditate. take life as a meditation. Be aware of my own constant inner chatter so I’m more able to observe not react to it (contageous within a group).
Awareness. Just that. I’ve just read Hugh Milne’s biography page in his blog. Same answer, different perspective.