sevita asked me to share what i said at the women in ministry CCC, about what i’ve learned about working with women in youth ministry. here are my notes, which might mean almost nothing…
What I’ve learned about working with women
1. Speaking the truth in love isn’t an excuse for being an jerk
· i had to unlearn the wrong lesson that my lack of mercy was a leadership strength. my failure in working well with women was the light bulb coming on about this)
2. Competent women willing to not “grind the agenda axe” can change their male co-workers more deeply than those who rage for rights
· examples of women on both sides of this
· I now work for a woman, and it’s GREAT
3. We (women and men) are not the same (in general), and one is not better than the other
· Processors/verbal vs. action/decisiveness;
· Traditionally, successful women have had to play it like a man – this is changing;
· Reality is – the only way through this tension is the way women would naturally handle it!
4. The world is changing, and women have SO much to teach men about effective leadership
· Businesses are finally waking up to the strength of female execs [tom peters];
· Mt Hermon last weekend – 4 out of 10 youth pastors were women; starting last year, more than 50% of the NYWC attendees were female
5. The future of YS depends, in part, on elevating and encouraging female youth workers
ok, so someone very close to me rightly suggested that while it was nice of me to post these notes, it doesn’t really answer sevita’s question, which was “what do you LIKE about working with women?”
so, off the top of my head:
1. they complete me. ok, so that’s intentionally sappy. but seriously, our current exec at ys is 2 women and 3 men, and without the women, we would be substantially more brash in our decision-making, we’d fall prey to group-think on a much more regular basis (“yeah! [grunt-grunt] that’s exactly what we should do!”), and we’d have a much greater tendency to steam-roll people.
2. women force me to process. at least the women i’ve worked with tend to be more process-oriented than i am. i am usually very quick to a decision. while this can be a strength, it can also be a limitation. the women i’ve worked alongside call for thoughtfulness.
3. they tend to smell nicer than men.
that’s just a quick list — i could probably come up with ten more reasons. don’t misunderstand me — it’s not that i would prefer to work with an entire group of women (“the future of ys staff — 40 women and marko!”). i’ve just come to really enjoy, and personally benefit from, working on mixed-gender teams. i’ll never be willing to settle for anything else again.