Dealing With Problems

V - inspiring A Million

Volunteers are human with feelings like everyone else and there can be problems which arise from someone's behaviour and attitude. The following offers advice on how to deal with behaviour and attitude which is having a detrimental effect on your club.

Problem behaviour can often result from a change in the volunteer's motivation for helping, so they concentrate on meeting their own needs and not those of your clubs, county boards, the game or the ECB.

So, how do you deal with problem behaviour?

Firstly, make sure you have got the facts right. If someone is complaining to you about another volunteer, ask for an objective account of the incident or problem. Make sure you get everyone's side of the story, especially that of the volunteer in question.

Check your own role in the problem - is the volunteer getting the right information and tools for the job, or are they just getting on your nerves rather than actually creating a problem?

Make sure that you document everything, and use only concrete, factual terms. Be sure to put dates on everything. If the issue is one of child protection, you must contact the county welfare officer within your county.

If you can, give the problem some thinking time. Try not to make snap decisions - some problems clear up on their own, or lose importance over times. However, don't confuse thinking a problem through with indecisiveness if a problem is serious.

When dealing with a problem it is important to communicate effectively. Try to use 'I' statements. For example, 'I'm very concerned about how you and Jack are getting on' rather than 'you are making Jack really cheesed off'.

Be honest! Don't skirt around the problem, make excuses, blame someone else or hide. It may be daunting and unpleasant, but honesty really is the best policy and it is the one least likely to have future repercussions.

Look for alternatives which might be appropriate. Try to find 'win-win' situations so that the volunteer in question benefits, as well as you and your club, county board. It may be that you decide:

  • to re-supervise the person - this is a good idea if it is the case that the volunteer doesn't know what is expected of them.
  • to give them a new role/task to do. Perhaps they may be better suited to a different position. It could be a simple case of them needing a new challenge or a clash of personalities.
  • to re-train them - it could be a lack of knowledge rather than a motivation problem.
  • If necessary, refer them to another volunteering body. Perhaps cricket wasn't the right choice for them. Help them to find something more suitable.
  • to retire them - it could be that they have reached a point where they are simply unable to do the work they once did. Give them the honour they deserve and ensure that their volunteering career ends on a good note. You may decide to give them an honorary position which doesn't have an impact on the running of the club, but which keeps them informed on what is happening.

If all else fails, do not be afraid to ask them to leave. It should always be a reluctant last resort, but it may be the only option available to you. If you have considered all the points above and problems still have not been resolved, this is the only option.

If you do decide to take this route, look carefully at the way you selected that volunteer in the first place. Was the role description right? Did you interview them well enough? Are there any areas in the selection and induction process which could be improved to help prevent such a situation from arising again in the future? Where possible, try to suggest other volunteering routes they may want to consider.

Dealing with volunteers suspected of serious wrongdoing

Fortunately the majority of volunteers are honest, trustworthy and reliable. The application process is there to try to prevent 'bad apples' from becoming volunteers in the first instance. However, occasionally situations might arise where a volunteer is suspected of committing an act of gross misconduct, such as theft or even abuse of young people within the club, county boards.

If an allegation (other than those of a child protection nature) is made regarding a volunteer you must inform the Club Volunteer Coordinator/ Club Welfare Officer, (or Club Secretary / chairman if the CVC/CWO is unavailable).

Make sure that detailed records of events are kept, with days, times and details of what has alleged to have gone on and that these are kept up to date. If it is occurring at club level, the County Welfare Officer also needs to be made aware of what is happening.

Refer to your club's disciplinary procedure, if applicable and if necessary seek advice from your local police.

If you feel there is sufficient evidence and grounds to tackle the volunteer in question, always:

  • Make sure that you are accompanied by another person and on neutral ground, preferably in a private but not solitary place.
  • Keep an objective and open approach - there may have been a misconstrued idea of the volunteer's actions.
  • Stick to the evidence you have collated and ask for clarification, allowing the volunteer the opportunity to offer an explanation.
  • Keep detailed notes of the interview.
  • Inform the County Welfare Officer of your discussions and decision. The County Welfare Officer then inform the Ethics & Compliance department within the ECB.

If, at the end of the investigation process, you feel there are grounds to ask the volunteer to leave do not be afraid to do so. However, once again, make sure that:

  • You are on neutral territory.
  • You are in an area which allows for private conversation but it is not in a solitary place.
  • You are accompanied by someone.
  • Keep an even tone and do not become personally accusatory towards the person - keep an objective outlook.
  • Make detailed notes.
  • Inform the County Welfare Officer of the outcome (who will inform the ethic & compliance department within ECB).