An important aspect of the coaching leadership I want to encourage is about “creating space”.
Space for me to show what I can do by not interrupting or encouraging trying out ideas - no matter how crazy they sound. Well, within bounds of safety for colleagues and systems.
Space for me to speak. Not only staying silent, but trying different ways to gauge comfort or knowledge (or gaps in it). I may not know that I can or should interrupt a noisy (but friendly) colleague. That noisy and well-intended colleage may not know that they are “taking up space”.
Space for me to trying something new. Without absolute confidence that it may work out but with confidence that together we will handle it.
Space for me to contribute on an equal footing. You might also call this equal participation. This one is important and hard or near impossible to get absolutely right. Does everyone get to speak up or have the same amount of space? Are their new ideas or attempts given the same space? There is no absolute justice here and different people crave differente amounts of space but everyone is entitled to the amount of space that they need to contribute, learn and grow.
How I spot that space is not given (or occupied) in an equal manner might be
- One persons ideas are rejected more than others. You might argue that an experienced developer would have to be respected and I would say that you are wrong simply because everyones ideas deserves trying - in particular ideas from a team member with less experience.
- We more often choose to work in a way that is comfortable for one person and not another.
- Choice of technology, editor, programming style etc. follows one persons ideas and are not open for debate.
- One person stays silent all the time.
- One person falls behind.
- One person needs to excuse themselves for bringing forward ideas.
There are probably more ways to spot that space is not given or available. Let me know if you have ideas 😉.