“Having hard conversation” by David Truss resonated deeply with me this week. He outlines a conversation he experienced that ended up, in his words, as a crap-storm. But it was the reflection on safe spaces for talk and dialogue that piqued my interest the most.
A critical point that David Truss makes is that talk, which helps us grow and develop, might not always be easy and comforting.
We need to understand that learning conversations might involve not just disagreement, but hurt.
His reflection provokes a more profound appreciation for the intricacy of creating safe spaces and what this means.
We need conversations to be safe, and understand that topics won’t always feel safe. This is tricky. This is something some people won’t agree with. But if the conversation can’t go to uncomfortable places, to places that feel uncomfortable, then the learning is hindered.
I am making a new connection between the capacity for functional discomfort in the talk and the learning capacity.
One of the most frequent personal reflections from working with leaders and teacher teams is, “What is not being spoken about?” The realisation that something else is going on. I pick up there is discomfort below the surface, which has yet to be addressed by the group.
Masking behaviours are perhaps just as troublesome as taking everything personally.
We need to be willing to set aside egos, and not take things personally, when there isn’t intent to hurt. We need to make conversation spaces places where we can misspeak, where we can apologize, where we can disagree, even in places where topics make us feel uncomfortable.