Selecting New Leaders and Integrating Them into the Team

Appointing New Leaders

Selecting New Leaders - interview tipsBuilding for the Future has suggestions on ways of attracting women into leadership positions.

Most States have online enquiry forms for those interested in helping Guides.  The District Manager may be the first point of contact for new volunteers or it might be someone in the State Girl Guide Office. The prospective volunteer may have been involved in Guiding themselves previously, possibly as a Leader in another State or country, or they may have a daughter who has recently joined, or their involvement may go back to their youth.  If they already have daughter/s in Guiding you may know them already from Support Group meetings.

Whatever their background, the first step will be to meet them and learn more about their skills and background.  Whilst you may be desperate for new Leaders, consider their needs too – it might be better to start off as a Unit Helper or for them to provide expertise in PR, property management or finances or get involved in the Support Group.  Think widely about the areas where volunteers could contribute for example:

  • sharing skills or knowledge with youth members – teaching a skill, being a guest speaker
  • carrying out administrative tasks at State Office, Region or District
  • bookkeeping or auditing books
  • catering for camps, events and meetings
  • designing and desktop publishing posters, pamphlets etc.
  • helping to manage events
  • fundraising
  • gardening or carrying out maintenance
  • shopping for activities and events
  • supporting a camp or sleepover
  • providing additional adult supervision at Unit meetings.

 

Appointing New Leaders - Reference ChecksAt this early stage be enthusiastic about the opportunities, listen to what they want to do and give them relevant information – the Guiding for Adults leaflet is tailored to adults and is a good place to start.  If you do not have any copies of this leaflet it is available as a downloadable PDF here or on http://www.girlguides.org.au/get-involved/as-a-leader.html.  Your State may also have resources that you can call upon. Please remember that from time to time new resources are released – make sure that you keep alert to any new resources through your local meetings and newsletters/emails.  Although it is important to be encouraging, don’t skirt over the challenges of leadership roles – new Leaders can become disheartened very quickly if they find the role has been over-sold.
If they are committed to taking up a leadership position, and you believe they would be suitable, take the time to talk about the different leadership roles available.  Explore their preferred Guide age group, their level of commitment and their skill set.  They could be appointed as an Outdoors Leader, Assistant Unit Leader or as a Unit Leader.

In the past it was generally felt that new volunteers couldn’t go straight into management roles, but this is no longer the case.  A woman who is the right for the role of for District Manager, but has not had leadership experience, may simply need to have more direct involvement in Units to develop an awareness of the Australian Guide Program.

Your conversation should be somewhere between a chat and a formal interview.  Obviously you want to encourage them and tell them how wonderful Guiding is, but you also need to assess whether they would be right for a role as a Manager or Leader.  Interviewing is tricky, even for those whose job it is to do it all the time.  Put them at ease by asking them to talk about how they heard about Guiding and why they want to get involved.  If they have limited experience of Guiding you will need to explain to them what we do and the importance of the Promise and Law.

You should also mention that all members need to abide by the Code of Conduct.  Ask them about what they have done to date, looking at other volunteering roles or experience they have had in the workplace; be on the lookout for expertise you can use.  You can then move on and maybe ask some scenario type questions which will give you an idea of how they might handle the kind of situations they will face as a Leader.

Don’t forget to tell them about qualification process and the support they will have as they get qualified.  Have the conversation about their level of commitment and any constraints they might face, but don’t ask personal questions.  At the end of the interview ask if they are still interested in the appointment.  Hopefully they will want the appointment and you will want them to!

Before you appoint them, take up two references and explain to them that we will need to undertake the relevant Working with Children / Police checks.  Make sure you call the referees; never rely on written references.  Before you make the call, plan the questions you want to ask – see the panel for tips on taking up references.

Ideally get the interested woman to come along to some Unit meetings so you can see how they interact with the girls, parents and Leaders.  This trial period will also identify if they are reliable, punctual and have a high level of integrity for our organisation.

 

Supporting New Leaders and Managers

To ensure new Leaders and Managers meet the requirements of their role with their new roles as soon as possible the organisation has put significant investment into creating a high quality and relevant learning and development program for new Leaders and Managers.  The approach to learning for new appointees places significant responsibility on the individual’s Manager.  This is because the Manager, not the learning and development team, is responsible for the individual’s appointment and their performance in the role.  By being closely involved with their learning, the Manager develops a good understanding of their strengths and the areas where they might need extra assistance.

The Learning Partner is the other person who will play a key role in supporting the new member and getting them up to speed. They must have excellent listening and coaching skills, be empathetic and have the time to performing the role well.  The District Manager appoints as many Learning Partners as required to cover the geographical area and to support the number of new Leaders.

The Induction Process

The District Manager plays the lead role in the induction of new Leaders and the Region Manager takes this role for District Managers.  The induction process is comprehensive to ensure the new appointee is clear about their role, what they need to do to become qualified, feel supported from the very beginning and know where they need to go for help and advice.

The Induction checklist in the Passports sets out very clearly what needs to happen and the Manager’s responsibilities.  Specifically your role is to discuss the:

  • importance of complying with GGA policies and Guide Lines
  • relevant position description
  • Code of Conduct (and ensure it is signed)
  • State conflict resolution / Grievance management policy and process.
  • Complete membership form and Application for Leadership/Management roles

As soon as the new Leader or Manager has completed induction, the District / Region Manager sends a copy or scan of the induction page to the State Office.

 

Integrating Adult Members into the Team

You can continue to put the new Leader / Manager at ease by introducing them to other volunteers, either at the next formal meeting or maybe at an informal get together, and encouraging the team to make them feel welcome.  Under the ALQP all Leaders and Managers have a role in supporting new appointees by facilitating activities and observing and signing-off activities in the Passport.  If the volunteer is completely new or setting up a new Unit you might consider taking them on Unit visits to find out how other Units run (this is also one of the Passport activities).  Whilst the Learning Partner will be their main point of contact during the qualification period, stay in touch now and again via SMS, email or a phone call.

 

Finalising Adult Members into the Team

You can continue to put the new Leader / Manager at ease by introducing them to other volunteers, either at the next formal meeting or maybe at an informal get together, and encouraging the team to make them feel welcome.  Under the ALQP all Leaders and Managers have a role in supporting new appointees by facilitating activities and observing and signing-off activities in the Passport.  If the volunteer is completely new or setting up a new Unit you might consider taking them on Unit visits to find out how other Units run (this is also one of the Passport activities).  Whilst the Learning Partner will be their main point of contact during the qualification period, stay in touch now and again via SMS, email or a phone call.

 

Finalising the Qualification

When a new Leader has completed the Leadership Qualification Passport, the Learning Partner verifies to the District Manager that she has completed the qualification to the required standard.  The District Manager satisfies herself that the new Leader has met all requirements for the position.  In exceptional circumstances the District Manager may need to meet individually with the Learning Partner or the new Leader to satisfy herself that the requirements have been met.  Delegation of tasks is a good way to manage all the responsibilities of a District Manager; however, this final stage cannot be delegated.  The Manager sends the “Qualification and Appointment form” to State Office once it is complete.

The process is very similar for the management appointments.  For District Managers and Assistant District Managers the Region Manager confirms all requirements have been met; whilst the State Commissioner does this for Region Managers and generally for Assistant Region Managers.

Six months after becoming qualified each Leader or Manager has an Interim Review with their Manager.  The purpose of the interim review is to discuss how the Leader or Manager is going in her new role, what are the successes and challenges, what are the next steps and to review her Learning Log.  If a qualified Leader / Manager changes location, an interim review should be conducted six months after being appointed to the new location.

 

 

 

 

Last Modified: 20/07/16 at 9:34 AM