In Sociocracy, what to do if someone wants to abstain from a consent round?

In a consent round, no one can abstain or “stand aside”. We need to hear from every circle member to determine whether there is consent for the proposal and to integrate objections.

There are different reasons that lead some people to want to abstain.

  • If they don’t really care about the proposal, which means they don’t have an objection: ask them whether they have objections and if they don’t, count it as consent.
  • If they don’t like the proposal and, for example, don’t want to be ‘responsible’ for it, ask them for their concerns and treat them as objections. They might shy away from objecting (for example if they are not used to be taken seriously in their concerns), or they might be upset because they didn’t get a sense of having been heard or for a reason not directly related to the meeting or the proposal. Hearing their input will be valuable both for them, the group dynamics and for the proposal.

For more information, check out our handbook Many Voices One Song section 3.2.5