Code of conduct
Code of Conduct, i.e. the code of conduct (regulations, rules) is a basic document that should be created as early as possible in order to organize the group’s work. Participants should have direct influence on the content of the rules, and each of them must personally agree with and commit to each point. So it is a difficult task – but necessary!
Why do we need regulations?
Once we know our expectations, concerns and interests, we realize that the participants are more or less different from each other. However, during the project’s lifetime they will have to work together to achieve common goals. Therefore, it should be explained to the group that this is where the need to establish the rules of the game arises – to avoid misunderstandings and know what we can and should not expect from ourselves.
What will we write in the regulations?
It is up to participants to decide on the content of the rules they will follow. Regardless of their final content, the rules should, above all, be orderly and deal with the following topics:
the principles of substantive work,
safety rules during the project,
principles of social coexistence.
WORKING METHOD PROPOSAL
Depending on the activity and size of the group, regulations can be developed immediately in the full team (leader or organizer as the person writing the rules and moderator of the conversation) or they can start with smaller groups: first, each participant writes down their proposed rules on post-it notes by themself, then we combine participants in teams of 2-3 people to confront their ideas. Finally, we combine these teams into three large groups, which, after discussion, present their final proposals to the whole group (with the leader – moderator).
The participants’ suggestions do not have to be consistent – a part of the group may also strongly disagree with them (this can be easily checked by asking participants who agree to read the proposals, e.g. to raise their hands in approval). In such a situation, it is worth allowing participants to have a moderated discussion on the topic. If a rule is controversial, it is the organizer’s role to find a more general rule that might be more acceptable to the unconvinced. Even if this kind of solution does not convince everyone – the suggestion should be abandoned. Some of the rules, e.g. not being late or not using the phone during activities and workshops – can be strengthened (with the consent of the group) by some form of punishment, e.g. cleaning the room after workshops or singing your favorite song in the group forum.
What is worth remembering?
The exception to the rule of full group consent are the rules that directly relate to ensuring the safety of participants – here the organizer is responsible, so they may decide to impose the group to comply with certain absolute rules. There will also be suggestions of illegal content that we should not consent to, regardless of the group’s approval.
How to finish the exercise?
After writing the final content of Code of Conduct on a flipchart, ask participants to officially sign it under it – to express their commitment – and hang it in a visible place, preferably in the room where the group’s daily work takes place.