Weeknotes 4 — The climate role

Week commencing 22nd February

This week I feel caffeinated.

For clarity the role I’m talking about here is the climate within a group or discussion, not the climatic situation of the world (which I also care about!). As part of the practices I’ve been learning about from Pete Burden and Abi Handley (as well as learnings from Going Horizontal which I was introduced to by Phoebe Tickell) one of the practices is that of running meetings.

Sounds simple but in my opinion it’s an art, especially in remote working settings. As we hear from organisations we’re supporting that it can be challenging to understand what meetings are for and what has been decided I’m aware of that experience within our own cooperative.

Roles we consider:

  • Chair
  • Timing
  • Note taker
  • Climate

I’ll assume Chair, Timing and Note taker are fairly self explanatory. Climate however is often not easily understood and, in my opinion, is one of the harder roles to play. My understanding of the role is still growing but what I’ve learnt over the past few months is that in online spaces the climate role can play a pivotal role. It relates to ‘reading the room’ and recognising where people might need space to explore arising tensions or points of difference. If you are playing the climate role you might sense you need to hold some space when the climate changes — longer periods of silence or more animated behaviour including interruptions and talking over each other.

I’m reflecting on this role this week after receiving feedback following a particularly tense situation that it had been recognised the role that I had played to hold the space, and that the individual sharing that feedback was grateful for that. I didn’t really realise I was doing it but I do recognise how much emotional energy it takes, I felt exhausted after that particular interaction but the feedback I received particularly pointed to my ability to remain calm in the situation. I didn’t feel that calm but I think I recognised the importance of not adding to the climate, rather trying to maintain sufficient distance to observe and support others to navigate through it.

As the format of these weeknotes might suggest I’ve gone outside of my usual structure and my one rule about weeknotes is they should be written in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. So as I come to the end of my cup — and therefore the end of this post — here is a short list of people who I have work with through the pandemic but never met and with whom I can’t wait to meet for a cup of coffee when the world allows:

Tayo Medupin

Emily Bazalgette

Amelia Woods

Louise Cooper

Hera Hussain

Lucy King

Jenny Walton

Tess Cooper

There are so many more people on my coffee list.

I also feel the need to say I was focusing on people not in DOT PROJECT (as I’d like to have a big party with the DOT PROJECT team many of whom I’ve never met in person!).

How I feel: caffeinated