A few years ago I was lucky enough to assist with the facilitation of an end of project retrospective.
At the start of the retrospective the facilitator ran a “Safety Check”. Everyone in the retrospective had to anonymously vote on a post-it note how they felt about the retrospective. “One” meant “I feel really comfortable”. “Two” meant “I feel mostly comfortable”. down to “Five” which meant “I feel very uncomfortable”. Everybody voted “One” apart from one person who voted “Two”. A mini witch hunt progressed with management trying to work out who had voted “Two”. The irony of the situation was lost on most people.
Everyone was meant to say they were really comfortable. Many of the people probably did feel comfortable. Some probably did not. The one person who had expressed a genuine feeling of disquiet were made to feel they had done something wrong and should be hunted down for it.
When it comes to listening, the hardest thing is to create an environment where people want to tell you stuff you do not want to hear.