Oar-some Team


Last year I had the privilege of being involved in a Corporate 8 rowing challenge, where we had six weeks to train and get our boat over the finish line. Most of us had never even touched an oar let alone rowed before and this was the best team challenge I have ever participated in. The nursery rhyme “row, row, your boat gently down the stream” certainly didn’t apply to us at the beginning…

Working with teams in your organisation or communities can be very similar to the challenges of learning to row together as a team. Every one of us have individual skills, experiences, knowledge, competencies or physical abilities and when working within teams we are performing together to achieve shared goals or reach the finish line safely. When working or rowing as a team, following your own agenda won’t work as you will stop or capsize the boat taking everyone overboard with you. It is all about timing and working together with your team and supporting those who need encouragement or further development.

Rowers Rowing Boat


The leader or coach of a team has a crucial role to play as they need to assign their team members based on their individual abilities to the right positions. Ensuring their team has the right resources and the right equipment ensures that the boat stays afloat. They are responsible for coaching and guiding their team or crew to keep direction and focus on the goal by ensuring that no team member is left behind to sink or swim, that each person is encouraged and supported so that they don’t jump ship and that their health and well-being are looked after.This rowing challenge ultimately had a goal – to make the finish line. Reaching the finish line in fourth place in the final was a great achievement, what an ‘oar-some team’!  But for me as it is with many organisations and communities the best experience on our journey to reach these goals is the new skills gained; the team work and the team building along the way.
I am looking forward to more rowing challenges this year and working with a lot more ‘oar-some’ organisations and their teams.

by Nicky Dowling

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