2023 CP Yen Foundation Dialogue Newsletter  Spring  issue

Creating Safe Spaces- The Core for Managing Group Conflict

by Vinay Kumar, IAF-CPF

From <The Power of Dialogue- Conversations with Masters> series

( summary by Keli Yen, graphic recorder: Grace Wang)

Intention for the session

According to the book “The Magic of Dialogue: Transforming Conflict into Cooperation”, dialogue contains three elements: equality (treating everyone equally), empathic listening, and surfacing assumptions (putting your own assumptions on hold in order to have an open mind with the intention to learn from one another). 

The space in the center where these three elements meet, depicted in the image below, is the space where conflict can be transformed into dialogue.  The intention for “Conversations with Masters” March session is to explore that central space and learn how to develop it.

About Vinay Kumar

Director, C2C Organizational Development Pvt. Ltd.
IAF Certified Professional Facilitator
IAF Global Chair 2020-2022
IAF Regional Director Asia 2017-2019 
Executive leadership coach
Host of the podcast “Shiny Happy People”

Vinay Kumar facilitates groups and organizations going through transformation and change. The CP Yen Foundation therefore invited Vinay to speak about how safe spaces are central to managing group conflict. 

“Safe spaces” are defined as places intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism or potentially threatening actions, ideas or conversations”.  What does this mean in practice and how can facilitators create safe spaces?

Dealing with conflict requires at least one calm and sane mind whose emotions are not hijacked by the conflict, says Vinay.  Safe spaces help people to maintain calmness and a constructive perspective during a conflict.

The image below shows various quotes about conflict.  Which one resonates with you most?

Each statement highlights the value of managing conflict by creating safe spaces where all people feel comfortable to express the “neurodiversity” of their unique brains and ways of perceiving.

Why are safe spaces critical for group effectiveness?

Some participant feedback: 

  • Safe spaces give participants a sense of inclusion and psychological safety.
  • An example of what happens when safe spaces are absent:  In one workplace staff were invited to share their feedback but were later criticized by their supervisor for what they said.  As a result, the next time staff were asked to share their thoughts, they didn’t want to express their genuine opinions and ideas.
  • Safe spaces are good for effectiveness because it enables people to build trust in one another, open their mind and attitudes.
  • Hierarchy or cultural differences can be obstacles for group communication.  Safe spaces can help people to talk with one another.

What are some situations where safe spaces are needed?

Participant feedback:  Safe spaces are needed when …

  • people with different jobs, hierarchies, identities, cultures or values struggle to reach consensus. 
  • discussion topics are sensitive or controversial
  • creating a team that can work together.
  • people are fighting with one another.
  • How do you create a safe space and make it real?  Share your intention, be genuine and speak your mind.


A case study was presented about how safe spaces could be used to deal with a difficult organizational challenge.

Problems in the case:

  • Skilled staff don’t stay long at the company due to mindset differences
  • External market pressures on the company
  • Resistance to change within the company
  • Company does not know how to improve itself.

The company leadership (Chairman, Exec Chairman, and new CEO) request the following:

  • Help them understand the changes that are needed
  • Reflect on the current company culture and consider that i may NOT necessarily be the most ideal for the future.
  • Help position the organization for the future.

Question for seminar group discussion: If you were facilitating this case, what considerations will you take into account and how will you create a safe space in the given scenario?

Create safe space with One on One Interviews

Vinay created a common structure to explore the client’s issue.  The structure is called the “3W and 3C key framework”, depicted in the image below.

The 3W framework asks the client’s stakeholders these questions:
3W Questions:

  1. Where are we going and why?
  2. Where are we now?
  3. What next?

Interview analysis

Vinay’s team categorized the interview responses in terms of the three main kinds of messages:

  • Head – messages about rational data, logic, numbers,  intellectualism
  • Heart – messages about feelings, anxiety, wishes, happiness
  • Hand – messages about action, what I love to do and are really doing in work.

The next step in Vinay’s facilitation was to organize a group discussion.  Vinay emphasized that facilitators often make the mistake of skipping the initial one-to-one conversation, which risks safe spaces being under-developed during the group discussion.  Vinay admitted his initial mistake of forgetting to inform the interviewees that their conversations with the facilitators would be confidential.  Before the statement of confidentiality the response rate was 20%, indicating that the interviewees did not feel enough “safe space” to respond.  After the confidentiality statement, responses increased to 90%.

During the group discussion, Vinay asked the 3Ws again in terms of “3C” questions, in the future and now:

3C Questions:

  1. What is the clarity that you want to have?
  2. What is the climate (culture) you want to build?
  3. What is the competence (skill) that you want to have?

The interviews revealed that at every layer of the organization staff and leaders felt that “the organization needs to change.”   Based on that new consensus, the next stage of facilitation can explore more deeply the changes to be undertaken.

The principles applied in this case study comes from a Forbes magazine article titled “15 Ways Your Organization Can Create a Safe Space”.

Today’s Dialogue with Masters session explored how safe spaces are critical for effective facilitation especially when there are complex and sensitive issues for groups to navigate. We looked into how we can create and manage the safe space while addressing critical issues. We explored the facilitator’s need to be agile as human dynamics are never predictable. 

Stay tuned for the next session  in June

2023朝邦文教基金會對話新訊息 – 春季刊

The Power of Dialogue -Conversations with Master
與  Vinay Kumar對話


根據《對話的魔力:將衝突轉化為合作》一書(朝邦基金會出版),對話包含三個要素:平等待人(平等對待每個人)、同理聆聽和浮現假設(擱置自己的假設,以便有一個開放的心態,有意圖相互學習)。這三個元素相遇的中心 是白色的空間,是衝突可以轉化為對話的空間。“與大師對話”三月分享會的目的是探索這個對話空間並學習如何發展它。

關於 Vinay Kumar

C2C組織發展公司執行長  IAF認證專業引導師
IAF亞洲區域總監 2017-2019 







  • 安全的空間給參與者一種包容感和心理安全感。
  • 缺乏安全空間時會發生的例子:在一個工作場所,員工被邀請分享他們的反饋,但後來卻被主管批評他們的反饋內容。因此,下次要求員工分享他們的想法時,他們不會想表達他們的真實意見和想法。
  • 安全的空間有利於提高效率,因為它使人們能夠相互信任,敞開心扉與態度。
  • 層級制度或文化差異可能是團隊溝通的障礙。安全的空間可以幫助人們相互交談。



  • 具有不同工作、層級、身份、文化或價值觀的人很難達成共識。
  • 討論主題敏感或有爭議。
  • 創建一個可以一起工作的團隊。
  • 人們在互相爭鬥。
  • 如何創造一個安全的空間並讓它成為現實?分享你的意圖,真誠地說出你的想法。




  • 由於技能和思維方式的差異,來自外部的人才無法在公司久待
  • 來自外部的威脅
  • 公司內部的舒適性很強
  • 需要改進,但如何改進?


  • 協助同仁意識到“如果他們不改善,他們就會被淘汰”。
  • 看清楚並明白目前的文化不一定是未來最理想的文化。
  • 幫助組織定位未來。





  1. 我們要去哪裡,為什麼?
  2. 我們現在在哪裡?
  3. 接下來呢?



  • 頭部 – 關於理性資訊、邏輯、數字、知識的訊息
  • 心 – 關於感覺、焦慮、願望、快樂的訊息
  • 手 – 關於行動的訊息: 我喜歡做什麼,在工作中真正在做什麼。



  1. 你想要的清晰度是什麼?
  2. 你想建立什麼樣的氛圍(文化)?
  3. 你想要具備什麼能力(技能)?


本案例研究中應用的原則來自富比士雜誌(Forbes magazine)的一篇標題為“為您的組織創建安全空間的15 種秘訣”的文章。

15 種秘訣為您的組織創建安全空間

  1. 提倡對話
  2. 建立信任
  3. 不要擔心不舒服的討論
  4. 培植感恩的練習
  5. 提倡多元包容的
  6. 回到基本
  7. 專注自由以及個人化
  8. 投資於領導力
  1. 專注於你的使命
  2. 採取”更好”的立場
  3. 建立情感的連結
  4. 從高層開始
  5. 增加韌性技能
  6. 聆聽組織內的人性面
  7. 有一個安全的場地可以談話

這次<與大師對話> 分享會 探討了安全空間對於有效地引導的重要性,尤其是在團隊需要解決複雜和敏感問題時。我們研究了如何在解決關鍵問題的同時創建和維繫安全空間。我們探討了引導師對敏捷的需求,因為群體動態是永遠無法預測。




你所身處的組織文化是個由上而下、負責完成主管下達命令的模式?還是由下而上、能夠大聲表達想法與做法的團隊?亦或是可上可下,隨時溝通、培養默契的夥伴關係?人數越多的組織,主管群的共識與理解越顯重要;當主管群對組織發展建立共同目標,執行的決策與計畫才能帶領團隊實踐願景。 成立已28年的弘道老人福利基金會,透過高階主管群的系統性培力以及實踐參與式共識營,藉由對話塑造良好的組織文化。邀請朋友們一起來參與這場精彩的線上分享會!

弘道老人福利基金會副執行長 劉佳盈
弘道老人福利基金會專員 劉宛宜
主持人:朝邦文教基金會引導師 宋豪軒
時間:19:30~21:30 (台灣時間)



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