Quaker A-Z: R is for Reservations

Unseen reservations & resistance

As those who know me would affirm – I am a committee nerd. Was tickled to be welcomed as one at a Woodbrooke course on serving nationally – the facilitator saying it was unlikely we’d all turned up to learn about becoming a better committee member if we weren’t!

So, I enjoy asking other experienced clerks, trustees etc. for hints and tips. So, this section is thanks to a very experienced clerk, who said that the most useful piece of clerking technique they’d learned (from another experienced clerk!) was to look for people with reservations.

Hands up
Photo by Marcos Luis on Unsplash
Those who weren’t involved, who hadn’t been heard from, where there were points of resistance in the flow of ministry and information.

The clerk would stand and ask if they could hear ministry from those who had reservations for whatever reason.

Which gave those who had not felt they could speak in opposition, or to ask questions to do so.

While reminding those who had already spoken that silence does not always mean consent.

Like so many good ideas it’s simple to do, and yet powerfully reminds people that everyone has the right to speak, question and raise points of concern.

Asking the right questions in practice...

When we consider our roles as Charity Administrators it is important to consider elements that could make our organisations thrive, that might not be on our day-to-task lists. Scheduling time to consider how we can improve engagement from our stakeholders enhances communication and often contributes to improvements within the organisation.

Actively asking questions to highlight reservations or resistance is a great way to open up an honest conversation that builds trust and could unearth any underlying issues that you might not be aware of.

There are many scenarios that you can ask this type of question. Perhaps internally at team meetings, perhaps when conversing with potential donors or with trustees or other committees.

It might feel like a scary question to pose,  however, the outcomes in our experience are positive. One important factor to consider when opening the floor to this type of discussion is to ask with sincerity and a real desire for change. 

Wendrie Heywood

Wendrie Heywood

MBS Founder

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