by Charlie Jones & Brigid Russell

There is a lot of talk about kindness, but living with an intention to be kind is not straightforward.

We’re not talking here about easy, random, and occasional acts of kindness. We mean relational kindness[i] which is about being open and honest with each other, listening deeply with an intention to understand, and responding with clarity. As Brené Brown says: “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.”[ii]

Guest blog about #SpacesForListening by Claire Longmuir & Melissa of Simon Community Scotland, introduced by Charlie Jones & Brigid Russell

We need to create spaces for the real conversations in our workplaces. But how? Isn’t that a bit risky? What if people get upset? Don’t we need specialist training for something like this?

Let’s be clear at the outset. We aren’t dismissing the value of professional expertise, of course there is a time and a place for this. But most of the time, do we need an expert who is ‘qualified’ to host a space to have supportive conversations? Surely for most of us, most of the time, what we need is to feel heard; the chance to have a supportive conversation with a peer or group of peers.

What if we create spaces which are for everyone, and anyone, and make them ‘safe enough’ with a light structure? We can each make…

Grief is raw and unforgiving. There is nowhere to hide, little or no escape. It is messy, and it is unpredictable. It is about love and togetherness, as much as it about the haunting loss of love and the aching sense of aloneness. In my lived experience, grief is all of these things.

My husband, Jim, died of leukaemia in February 2020, a few weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic struck the UK. Early on it felt like the pandemic was stealing my time to grieve because suddenly things no longer felt ‘normal’, for all of us. Yet for me, things…

By Charlie Jones & Brigid Russell

So many of our workplace conversations feel constrained, and somewhat superficial. The result is that many of us are frustrated that we are not covering the issues which really matter; and, we are left feeling unheard, and unsupported. We tend to blame a lack of time, or problems with culture or style of leadership.

What if we were to choose to gather together in a space and share with each other how we are really feeling about our experiences, what we are thinking about, and feel listened to and heard?

Copyright: Brigid Russell

In a previous blog we promoted the notion that we all have an equal and shared responsibility for creating psychological safety, with and for each other. When we create space in which we genuinely listen to each other, we open up the possibilities for connection, and trust. We enable ourselves to hear our vulnerabilities and what feels important, both to ourselves and others; we get to experience both our commonality, and our differences. It all starts with the quality of our listening, and our appreciation for each other. …

Charlie Jones & Brigid Russell

With the positive momentum around psychological safety, the message is really getting out there — especially in healthcare. Now we are at the point of needing a process — a way of enacting psychological safety — that aligns with the content of our discussions. We may know the conditions that enable us to feel truly psychologically safe in a team or group of people with whom we are working. The question is: do we know how to make them real and consistent, in practice?

Copyright: Brigid Russell

Over the weekend of 12th-13th September, 2020, one of us (CJ) initiated a Twitter thread inviting challenge and contribution about a question to pose to potential Chief Executive candidates around how they would embrace and express their vulnerability in leading the organisation, and in so doing model psychological safety.

In reflecting on the thread, first, the content was rich. There were clear themes around hierarchy, power gradients, trust and vulnerability, and the importance of moving beyond fashionable buzzwords to specific concrete examples and behaviours. Second, the process of the thread was energising. There was something so free and heartfelt about…

Brigid Russell

All about working relationally, learning, coaching, & listening. Noticing & exploring how leadership develops in practice.

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