Call me idealistic, but it’s always been one of my great desires to work in an effective, supportive team, where I feel I belong, its fun, I can contribute and we are making a difference in the world.
And there have been many times I have experienced this.
There have also been times where the structures and expectations around me ensure this can’t happen, and I feel isolated, unsupported and my work undervalued. I don’t do my best work, I don’t enjoy my work and I don’t last long in these workplaces.
Disengaged workers and dysfunctional workplaces are a modern epidemic. 24% of Australian workers are engaged, 60% are not engaged and 16% are actively disengaged, according to Gallup.
One powerful but by no means easy activity that can build a place to belong, from which great things can come, is the age old equaliser of the speaking and sharing stories in the round, in a circle. This creates space and time for people to be seen and heard, and to feel like they matter.
This simple structure ritualises everyone having a voice, and encourages the sharing of more personal and lived experiences ie. stories.
While it is simple initially it needs some facilitation and framing in order to build safety and draw people in. It takes time for groups to get used to the process and make the most of it and then, then together we create a container that can hold all we have to bring, where we can slowly reveal our humanity, feel we belong and that our voice matters.
Introducing circle requires leadership, risk taking and sometimes a desperation to do things differently. Its impact is profound, and its ability to bring wholeness into the workplace, build relationship, and enable emotional expression is unbeatable.
Frustratingly words don’t do the practice justice, it is one of those things that needs to be experienced to be appreciated.
If you’re interested in introducing circle and story into your workplace, drop me a line.