July 7, 2022

An MCW Reflection: Nurturing dignity, solidarity, freedom, and respect in teams

The article below was written by Maya Vandenbroeck following the conclusion of the Workshop Courage she co-facilitated with Enrique Cañizares. The workshop was held last November 30 and December 1, 2019 at the Mindanao P.O. Complex, Davao City.

Editor’s Note: In a time of crisis, it can be difficult for us, change makers to remember that our individual differences also determine the speed at which we work, as well as the way we process (and overcome) difficult situations. Maya’s reflection shows us that due to the urgent need to transform our world, it is even more important for us to hold space for each other. We are, after all, together in this journey.

Since the MISSION COURAGE WORKSHOP with Enrique, I’ve been thinking about the best form that nurtures a team’s dignity, solidarity, freedom, and respect.

These past months it’s clear that while some of us get a lot of work done in 5 hours, others need 8 hours. Some of us are most productive in the morning while others are more productive later in the day. Some of us need more help while others are more independent.

It’s great that we all like to stick to short but thorough and efficient meetings and that we all want to relate to each other personally not just professionally.

Cultivating a true horizontal hierarchy has brought us to another question: What kind of decision making works best in cultivating a team’s inner motivation? Participatory decision making, surely!

Then there’s another crucial ingredient: there are many sides to each of us in the team. We are working – and taking care of our loved ones, sharing household chores, managing businesses or pet projects, and pursuing hobbies that rejuvenate our souls and creativity of the human spirit. Acknowledging and appreciating this diversity is, I think, a great step towards empathy.

Balancing the right amount of idealism and pragmatism takes a large dose of maturity. When everyone strives to support each other in appropriate ways, the result is a very productive, creative, and resilient team.

Everyone’s ability to transcend conflicts, communicate well, make clear decisions, and sustain actions will be challenged many times. The real test is when one team member fluctuates – and the rest keep on being kind and loving – and not add more stress to the situation. For some in the team, this chaotic period of insecurity and instability, is short. For others in the team, it lasts longer.

As 2019 ends and 2020 begins, may this great team that I’m part of, give each other room to grow and pursue our interests while continuing to hold the space for each other in difficult times and in good times, enjoy working together, and have a lot of fun creating the impact that Mindanao needs!


Here are a few more photos taken by Nick Solana during the workshop.