Becoming Colleagues: Women and Men Serving Together in Faith

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9780787947095: Becoming Colleagues: Women and Men Serving Together in Faith
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Becoming Colleagues provides a powerful rationale for personal reflection and change, a call for systemic reform, and specific guidance for implementing change in the faith-based workplace. Through stories of mixed-gender teams in religiously affiliated settings-including congregations, agencies, educational institutions, and other faith-based nonprofit organizations-this book explores nine change factors critical to ensuring that men and women work together in mutually supportive ways. The proven principles revealed through these stories provide a new model for the workplace that is certain to help teams achieve success and satisfaction in their ministries.

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From the Back Cover:

Few mixed-gender work teams in faith-based organizations are as successful they as could be-and the reasons for success or failure are not always evident. Women often grapple with people whose practices and theological understandings do not welcome their leadership, and both men and women fall into counterproductive power struggles and traps of miscommunication. In these circumstances, even highly effective teams have found it hard to explain the magic formula behind their success. Until now.
In the first book to address this issue, Carol Becker gives specific guidance for implementing change in the religious workplace, based on her extensive study of twenty-three different teams of men and women from congregations, denominations, and faith-based nonprofit organizations. Becker uses stories from successful teams to outline nine criteria required for effective mixed-gender working relations and tells how to use these criteria to create and sustain an effective team.
As a prelude to action, mixed-gender teams must be reflective in their work together. Focusing first on the inner work of pausing and pondering rather than acting, effective teams

  • Reflect about themselves, their team and teammates, and their work.
  • Learn about gender and individual differences and about leadership and what it takes to build a team.
  • Examine what they believe (their values) about the leadership of men and women.
  • Name-or know- themselves and each other deeply.
  • Include, looking beyond stereotypes and prejudices.

Having accomplished this exercise of awareness through their reflective work, team members then engage with their mission and take specific action to change their way of working together. Effective teams

  • Communicate with deliberation.
  • Work together in the same setting, respecting boundaries and sharing commitment.
  • Influence others toward constructive action, using power positively.
  • Model new ways of leading together through effective partnership.

In practice, successful teams integrate elements of all nine criteria in order to build a successful mixed-gender work experience. The stories from the teams in this book bring these criteria to life and demonstrate a common theme that is intangible: the great joy that men and women of faith experience when they are working together effectively.

Includes discussion questions for group use.

[Back Cover]
Create effective and mutually satisfying teams

Becoming Colleagues provides a powerful rationale for personal reflection and change, a call for systemic reform, and specific guidance for implementing change in the faith-based workplace. Through stories of mixed-gender teams in religiously affiliated settings-including congregations, agencies, educational institutions, and other faith-based nonprofit organizations-this book explores nine change factors critical to ensuring that men and women work together in mutually supportive ways. The proven principles revealed through these stories provide a new model for the workplace that is certain to help teams achieve success and satisfaction in their ministries.

"Challenging, helpful, inspiring. . . . Carol Becker lays a foundation for team ministry that can transform the church."—James F. Cobble Jr., executive director, Christian Ministry Resources

"A decade of unique research has produced a management pearl. Becker's performance criteria offer management development value beyond gender diversity and teamwork. She provides new insight into the emerging leadership culture for the millennium. Nonprofit and for-profit leaders take heed!"—James B. Beddow, vice president of learning, the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society

"I could not put this book down. Story after story excited me and piqued my curiosity to want to know more. What delightful reading, with remarkable insights into universal issues about men and women in the workplace! It is a must-read for people in leadership positions who are responsible for personnel management. I will use this book in international training."—Musimbi Kanyoro, general secretary, World YWCA


About the Author:

CAROL E. BECKER is a marketing communications and organizational development consultant who for nearly twenty-five years has helped nonprofit organizations achieve their goals through effective planning and communication. She formed and headed the communication office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, where she worked for five years. Becker lives in Park Ridge, Illinois.

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