Being Safe Space, Inviting Participation

For others to open up and share their ideas, there first needs to be an established trust.
The people and the environment needs to be safe space. Do others feel heard when they talk to you? Are people enabled to be their whole, full selves in your midst without judgment? This is the stuff of safe space. But safe space isn't just empty, it also invites participation, sharing and vulnerability. A blank canvas may be an invitation to the artist to paint, but that artist must also know the canvas to be their canvas, and the invitation for them. Just because we are theoretically open to the input of others doesn't mean that we have created safe space for them and invited them to be their full, creative selves. It might mean starting with vulnerable sharing on the part of the leader. It might mean leading with questions and being comfortable when silence follows. It might mean conversations about the identity and values of the people in your midst before taking on a shared project or vision. It might mean letting go of my good ideas and giving primary space to others.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all method. There isn't a flawless technique. And that's good news. 


If you want to create safe space and invite participation, get ready for rewarding work. It isn't easy, but the payoff of people sharing their best/true selves... it's priceless. 
Benjamin FaderComment