Today was the start of a 5-day workshop with Richard Erskine. Even though the group is quite large we proceeded to a round of introduction. We gave ourselves all afternoon to do it.
In this context, it felt natural. In a business context, it would have felt challenging to do it like this. That’s because taking the time to learn to know one another and meet the other is unusual in most organizations. It doesn’t match the idea of performance and professionalism based on competence.
Looking at the dynamic that unfolded in the group, the way the group connected quite easily became visible. When we went to dinner afterwards the room was buzzing with conversations.
Beyond what I had experienced and done in past workshops, once a person had introduced herself, Richard invited other participants to welcome that participant or react to what they had heard.
This had a powerful impact. It allowed sharing the links we had with that person or notice the ones existing between participants. It also energized everyone. And maybe most importantly, it helped the person who presented herself to feel welcome and see how they belonged to the group.
When we present ourselves and only receive friendly nods as feedback we are left alone with our words. It becomes up to us to imagine if the information we shared is accepted or not. These often are moments of loneliness.
To engage team members with one another and build a common space, we have to overcome these moments of loneliness.