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Does Teamwork Make the Dream Work?

Today, we hear from Jacqueline Taylor, a brilliant, brave, and badass human who has bravely shared her experience navigating our responsibility in teamwork and psychological safety.

At least once a month in 2024, we will hear from humans who help us see learning, leadership, and liberation in new and everyday ways, holding the precious truths and focusing our eyes to see.

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Heartfelt thanks to you, Jacqueline, for sharing your wise reflections with us.

Fellow leaders and learners, I wish you courage, rest, and beloved community along the journey.

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Jacqueline Taylor

I believe the answer is yes if you are truly a team. The work I do requires layers of committees.  Merriam-Webster defines a committee as “a group of persons appointed or elected to consider or take action on some matter.” Committees can be a great resource for getting things done. The task is the focus and, on a good day, progress.  On a bad day, it looks like throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks, the assignment becoming the single focus, creating a group think scenario, or just getting to a consensus so we can move on—a very different process than a team.

What is required of a team as opposed to a committee? Author and team coach David Clutterbuck writes, 

“In teams, everyone takes responsibility for their own and everyone else’s performance, learning, and well-being.”

062624_Image 1It appears that the team is formed for more than just accomplishing a task.

Let’s break this down.  Performance is not a huge issue as I work with type A, right-brained, task-oriented professionals.  We will hammer it out. So will a good strong committee.  But wait, there’s more.  It is the learning piece that is often overlooked but is necessary in teamwork. 

It can mean the difference between living up to the vision and living into the vision.  One is ticking boxes, and the other is embodiment.

06264_Image 2Learning includes having clear objectives and how those objectives inform the “dream.” The team becomes clear about the who, what, and why of the goals while maintaining awareness of internal and external environmental and political factors within the organization. This orientation promotes a greater desire to build personal relationships within the team, garnering mutual respect, support, and psychological safety.

This leads to the third aspect of a team: taking responsibility for one another’s well-being. This goes beyond simply trusting one another. Team coaches Peter Hawkins and Sue Coyne write, 

“Trust is an expectation that someone can be counted on….in a future moment as opposed to the immediate felt sense of psychological safety.”

06264_Image 3This means sharing thoughts and ideas without judgment, developing a covenant of behavior with one another, and granting equal importance to cultivating a space of interdependence, mutuality, and respect.

The team's commitment to its responsibilities, growth, and relationships makes it strong, and that makes the “dream work.”


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Jacqueline Taylor (she/her)
Post by Jacqueline Taylor (she/her)
June 26, 2024
Jacqueline “Jackie” Taylor is an ordained teaching Elder in PCUSA and serves as the General Presbyter of the Presbytery of Baltimore. She is certified as a team coach and has been coaching for the PCUSA for seven years. She also coaches’ pastors and church leaders as they seek to be faithful to their calling in life and work. She has an MDiv and a D.Min from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.