Sharing Withholds


This discussion exercise is something to try with a group at the end of a training workshop, team development session or even a learning class.

Withholds are thoughts that we keep to ourselves. They usually have to do with judgements about ourselves, others, or what is happening in the group. For this tool to work there needs to be in a climate of generous listening, which may take some time to achieve.

It may be helpful if the group commits to putting aside enough time to relax together and do this exercise.

Set up an unstructured round asking people to make statements beginning with: “If I could change one thing in the group it would be…”, “What upsets me about this group is …”. Do not allow anyone to respond to the withholds or start a discussion. Make sure that everyone has a say – it is highly unlikely that someone is completely happy with a group. At the end of the round, see if any themes have emerged and if anyone wants their issue discussed.


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