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Supporting a Coordinator: What do coordinators need from their team?

Outside of their home agency, the team is the most important source of support for a SART coordinator. Teams often rely on the coordinator to do the vast majority of the work. This can be difficult, frustrating, and even untenable for coordinators. In many communities, coordinators are the lowest paid people on the team, with the lowest positional power. Coordinators help the team stay focused, assist in the work, and hold the team accountable. They should not be expected to do all of the work.  The team can support the coordinator in many ways to lighten this load. Doing so strengthens the team’s sustainability and its lasting systems change work.

Some ways a team can support the coordinator include:

  • Preparing for meetings to make them as productive as possible.
    • Read emails and minutes in advance, especially if someone has missed a meeting.
    • Bring back necessary information and input from home disciplines/agencies. Part of the role of a team member is to be a conduit between the team and their discipline/agency.
  • If possible, doing work outside of the meeting.
    • Having clear expectations about contributions outside of meetings helps teams advance. Often, these expectations are spelled out in an MOU. If a team’s ability to do work outside of meetings changes, have a proactive conversation about what that means.
  • Letting a coordinator know when a team member is not able to attend meetings
    • If this is a normal occurrence, talk about why they aren’t able to attend or begin sending someone in their place.
  • If there are concerns or questions, offering solutions in addition to critiques. Too often coordinators are responsible for l of the thinking.
  • Being realistic about projects. If a coordinator is unfunded or has limited time, think about feasibility and resources before deciding to undertake a large project. This might mean that projects have to be put on hold or that they will take a lot longer than teams might like.
  • Offering resources, including any available funds or other resources such as food or space.
    • Coordinators appreciate the support and buy-in from team members.
  • Being a champion for the team.
    • Speak out in support of the work of the team. Coordinators sometimes have to be the one to lift up the work of the team, and it helps if all team members express support and value the work of the team.

Those are some of the ways a team can help support a coordinator. What are other ideas that you have? Leave your ideas and comments below!