The power of supportive teams

Supportive teams are worth their weight in Gold – everyone wants to belong to one – but how do we develop our teams to achieve this? And what are the key ingredients to successful and supportive working?

A recent report in the national press outlined how the RNLI had found themselves in a difficult predicament after the sacking of a coxswain in St Helier in Jersey. The Charity’s Managers in Jersey stated that they felt he was  a “risk to life” but this prompted the whole crew to resign in protest.

It was  stated that this was not the first time this had happened at a station and people were particularly aggrieved that this had happened to Volunteers who give their time free of charge.

The paper further reported that the crew at St Helier intended to leave the RNLI even after they reinstated the Coxswain – it was the first time in RNLIs 193 year history that this had happened.

The activities that occurred behind the scenes need not be reported but suffice to say that there seems to have been multiple misunderstandings, misinterpretations and miscommunications. Their Director of Community Lifesaving and Fundraising said “Some people find change more difficult than others.It is not surprising that some people who have left the organisation will say their concerns were not listened to. Changes are difficult. In some stations we have found it easier and in some we did not. We have tried to support volunteers – sometimes we got it right and sometimes we did not”.

This instance with the RNLI is by no means isolated and at Coachhouse we are regularly working with organisations to help them understand the needs of their people across their organisation – be they full or part-time, volunteers or staff.

So what are they key areas to pay attention to in order to try and prevent this type of communication breakdown and to maintain happy and contented teams who feel they are appreciated and listened to.

  • Make sure people are clear on your aims as an organisation and how their efforts help to achieve this
  • If there are changes ahead – make sure you have communicated this well in advance
  • Say thank you regularly – however you do this – say what they have done well and how this helps your organisation
  • Work with people to set goals that they want to set and review how things are going incase they need help on their journey
  • Consult with people – what do they think – make sure it is consultation before action and not after decisions have already been made
  • Celebrate what individuals and teams have achieved
  • Always communicate and check that the message you need to get through is being understood correctly – even if there is nothing to communicate let people know that!
  • Give people an opportunity to have their say and feedback on their views or ideas


Our Coachouse pulse check is really valuable here in making sure all of these things are working effectively and will give you a report from a cross section across your organisation to make sure there are no pockets of unhappiness so that you can address anything before it develops.

Happy teams want to stay and work for you!