Building a team using role descriptions

How to use the commissioner role descriptions to build a team and share responsibilities

01 August 2022

As a commissioner you’re not expected to know everything or complete every task yourself.

Be flexible and collaborative and build a team with various expertise to help you. As the team leader you’ll delegate tasks and work together with your team to get the job done.

This may take a little while, but you can start thinking about your new team before you begin your role as commissioner. Commissioners told us that it’s important to work out the skills the team needs and if there are any existing volunteers who could do these roles.

Use the district, division, and county commissioner role descriptions to see what roles you want in your new team.

As with recruiting, try and think outside the box and look at the skills rather than the number of years' experience someone has in guiding. It isn’t necessary for an administrator or a treasurer to know anything about Girlguiding to do the job. It’s more important for a volunteer to understand the role that they’ll play in the team and how much time it’ll take them.

Volunteers like the personal touch by being asked to take on a role. This is a more successful way of recruiting a team. If you do know someone who has the skills you’re looking for, chat to them and tell them how their skills will help the team. Try and find out about every volunteer in your area to find out what skills they have.

Some commissioners use small groups, for a limited amount of time, to help with an event, for example. This is a brilliant way to share the load and means that volunteers with the skills you're after, don’t have to commit to a three or five year role. It could also help you find out more about these volunteers plus it’ll help them develop their skills. Once you’ve recruited to your team make sure each person knows what their responsibilities are.

The website has loads of information to help you. Have a look at different volunteering roles and how you can use role descriptions to help your team understand what they need to do. The commissioner role descriptions have different tasks areas listed to make it easier to refer to and will help you delegate. There’s also a commissioner section  to give you inspiration and support.

Keeping in touch with your team and finding effective ways to communicate with everyone is something that’s important especially if you’re in a large geographical area. More information can be found here.

Don’t forget to ask any existing advisers in your area for additional support. There’s lots of adviser roles including those with expertise in outdoor activities, inclusion, growth and residentials – their expertise can be used by all commissioners and should be viewed as a country or region resource. And don’t forget to check in with other commissioners from time to time. They’ll have different experiences to you and may be able to give advice and support if you need it.

Everyone likes to feel valued, so in addition to the thanks that you naturally give your team, organising thanks and recognition events are a great way to make them feel really special.

Alice, a division commissioner, shares her experience of building a team. 

‘When I was asked to take on the role of division commissioner, a mix of emotions came over me,' says Alice. 'My perception of a commissioner was someone that had been guiding forever and knew everything. That wasn’t me. I also worked and had a family with young children. Would I have the time?

'I looked at the role description and talked to commissioner I was replacing. She reassured me that I didn’t have to know everything and explained that I was asked because I was approachable and had a ‘can do’ attitude. I agreed to take on the role because I knew I would have a team of people to help me and if I got stuck, I had the additional support of a mentor and the outgoing commissioner. The first thing I did was to work out what jobs needed to be done and who I knew could do them. Our division is made up of four districts covering 45 units. I decided I needed help with the following roles:

  • A treasurer, someone to keep checks on the finances, supporting districts with their annual accounts and offering help when needed. The result: I asked one of my work colleagues from the finance department and he agreed to join as he only needed to attend three or four meetings a year.
  • A secretary, to take the minutes of the division meetings and send out agendas. The result: A unit helper who wanted to gain some more admin experience offered to take this on.
  • A residential adviser. We’re a big division so I felt we needed two, one for Guides and Rangers and the other for Brownies and Rainbows. The result: I asked a leader who had recently got her Going Away With licence and a leader with lots of relevant skills who took her unit camping regularly. If there are things they don’t know or need extra support with they can talk to the county or district residential advisers.
  • An international adviser, to support units going abroad and leaders who wanted to do the international module of the Going Away With scheme. The result: I asked a leader who I knew had previously organised a district trip abroad and she agreed to do it. She can also ask other international advisers if she needs any extra information or support.
  • An ID verifier. Each district already has two ID verifiers so I decided I didn’t need a specific one for the division.
  • A division president. This person would be there to support me and be a public figure at events. The result: I got on well with the previous president so asked her if she was willing to continue and she agreed.

'This team attends our division meetings alongside the district commissioners, Trefoil Guild reps and a young leader/Ranger representative. We have small groups to organise one off division events. We use a WhatsApp group to keep in touch. I can attend county meetings. I also contact the volunteer enquirers and make that initial welcome before moving them to different units or districts. A Safe Space and 1st Response reports are managed locally but I support districts so that their list doesn’t get unmanageable.

'Working together as a team has made the role of division commissioner more manageable and I really enjoy it.'