For Those on the Margin

Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2011 in Communication, Interpersonal Skills, Leadership

goatThe Lame Goat

You’ve seen a herd of goats
going down to the water

The lame and dreamy goat
brings up the rear

There are worried faces about that one,
but now they are laughing,

because, look, as they are return,
that goat is leading!
There are many different kinds of knowing.

The lame goat’s kind is a branch
that traces back to the root of presence.

Learn from the lame goat,
and lead the herd home.

-Jellaludin Rumi

As a tall white male, you might think I would have no problem speaking up in large groups. But sometimes I do. When I am a participant, I can be very introverted and won’t say a thing in many large groups.

For any number of reasons, people won’t speak up in large groups.

If we want a different future, one thing we need to do is bring those on the margin into the center. We need to hear from them and allow them to bring their strengths and gifts to the group.  “There are many different kinds of knowing.”

Otherwise, we will get more of the same. More of the same people dominating the conversation. More of the same people’s ideas. More of the same loud voices.

But to get those on the margin to participate, we need safe places where they can feel valued. A safe social structure is the small group. Everyone can be heard in a small group. Every voice can be listened to and respected.

Two critical components of effective small groups are to listen without giving advice and to have meaningful conversations so people in the groups can really get to know what they care about.

‘Lame’ goats can “lead the herd home.”

Image:  kkirugi

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