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Deb
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Hi all

 

I have a problem and would really appreciate some advice. I feel I need to articulate my concerns in order to get them clear in my mind and know what action I need to take.

 

One of my deputies is not pulling her weight, not leading practice in my absence, preferring to passively sit back without very much input at staff meetings, this has been the case since I took over from her as manager 18 months ago. We have had various conversations but I now feel that I need to do something more formal, perhaps explicitly say how her conduct must improve and the consequences if it does not. I'm just not sure what I can do or say by law, could I for example argue that she is not fulfilling her role, even suggest she is demoted.

 

Some background information is that I have had various issues to deal with one potentially very serious resulting in a disciplinary hearing with her, and several other important issues where I have had to spell out exactly what needs to be done for all staff and where I would I feel have to take further action if any member of staff failed in their responsibility specifically on my day off when this person is ultimately in charge.

 

She has good points in that she is totally reliable in her attendance. She is not confrontational. However she does not inspire confidence in me or other staff that she will make sure that what needs to be done will be done. One member of staff told me that she does not feel in safe hands, and went home worrying if certain things had been done. She allows less senior members of staff to take the lead in making sure activities take place, nappies are changed, meeting the requirements of her keyperson role. She avoids expending too much energy, sitting with children trying to look busy.

 

I found out today that yesterday the children did not go outside in the morning when it is our practice that as soon as the last parent leaves, the door is opened and children have freeflow between the inside and outside whatever the weather. Also the planned cooking activity did not take place. I intend to raise these points, and expect her to come up with a reason why they did not happen, but I want to know how to formalize the proceedings. I am becoming tired of excuses.

 

She may lack confidence but there may also be an element of laziness and or low agility.

 

All words of wisdom gratefully received.

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Gosh! Sounds like my recently ex-deputy personified!

 

Had the exact same issues and uncovered far more since she left 2 weeks ago now. In our case the actions taken ultimately led to a letter of resignation which could possibly be considered the best outcome as entirely her own decision although am sure the result of a realisation that she was simply not commited to the role.

 

The first step was an appraisal in which we went over the job description and discussed how/why/when this was being met. As this highlighted a number of areas that were not being covered satisfactorily an action plan was put in place. This included an hour a week meeting during which the previous week was discussed and 'to do' lists prioritised, this way I have been able to track progress and pin down the areas for concern.

 

It's been a long progress and has included a verbal warning. The most important thing you must do is record every conversation you have with deputy and other staff members but also document how you have tried to support your deputy in fulfilling her role. Not an easy process but one way or another will be worth it, you'll either come out with a top performing deputy or, as in my case, the oppotunity to appoint someone who is more capable. it has probably taken me a good 18 months for her to recognise that this is not the job for her and she has reached this conclusion almost on her own.

 

Good luck x (hope that makes sense, has been one hell of a week)!

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Gosh! Sounds like my recently ex-deputy personified!

 

Had the exact same issues and uncovered far more since she left 2 weeks ago now. In our case the actions taken ultimately led to a letter of resignation which could possibly be considered the best outcome as entirely her own decision although am sure the result of a realisation that she was simply not commited to the role.

 

The first step was an appraisal in which we went over the job description and discussed how/why/when this was being met. As this highlighted a number of areas that were not being covered satisfactorily an action plan was put in place. This included an hour a week meeting during which the previous week was discussed and 'to do' lists prioritised, this way I have been able to track progress and pin down the areas for concern.

 

It's been a long progress and has included a verbal warning. The most important thing you must do is record every conversation you have with deputy and other staff members but also document how you have tried to support your deputy in fulfilling her role. Not an easy process but one way or another will be worth it, you'll either come out with a top performing deputy or, as in my case, the oppotunity to appoint someone who is more capable. it has probably taken me a good 18 months for her to recognise that this is not the job for her and she has reached this conclusion almost on her own.

 

Good luck x (hope that makes sense, has been one hell of a week)!

 

Hi Moo20

 

It's been a hell of a week for me too, so I doubly appreciate your finding the time to respond, for your empathy and for your advice :o .

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Hi moo,

 

You haven't outlined the circumstances under which you took over from her as Manager - even if she 'stepped down' voluntarily, maybe resentment could be a factor, and maybe this area needs 'revisiting' in order to clear the air ? You say that you have had various conversations with her, and I'm assuming that part of that process would have been to to ascertain her feelings and thoughts on her behaviour/practice, and to see if there were any underlying problems that you could help her with.

I have to say that maybe you are coming across as a little confrontational, when perhaps a more collaborative approach may get better results from this individual. I would however, certainly be seeking an explanation as to why the settings policy of free flow to the outside was not followed yesterday.

 

I've just re-read my post, and it sounds a little critical, which was not my intention - just to put my view forward that sometimes going back to the beginning can help move forwards.

Edited by Guest
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Hi my question is, if the remainder of the staff know that they should have freeflow and cooking on that day why did this not happen. Although she is in charge in your absence. If she is supernumery on that day i'm not sure she should be blamed for this unless she specifically said not to do them, then you have a reason to approach her over this.

Why did you take over as Manager from her, i agree with last post there could be some resentment over this.

Has she had any training in Management to facilitate her role, if not is she lacking in skills to achieve this.

As you are already due to have a disciplinary with her, ensure everything has been recorded for evidence should it be required. :o

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Hi moo,

 

You haven't outlined the circumstances under which you took over from her as Manager - even if she 'stepped down' voluntarily, maybe resentment could be a factor, and maybe this area needs 'revisiting' in order to clear the air ? You say that you have had various conversations with her, and I'm assuming that part of that process would have been to to ascertain her feelings and thoughts on her behaviour/practice, and to see if there were any underlying problems that you could help her with.

I have to say that maybe you are coming across as a little confrontational, when perhaps a more collaborative approach may get better results from this individual. I would however, certainly be seeking an explanation as to why the settings policy of free flow to the outside was not followed yesterday.

 

I've just re-read my post, and it sounds a little critical, which was not my intention - just to put my view forward that sometimes going back to the beginning can help move forwards.

 

Hi Sam,

 

Not sure if you replied to me or Debs!

 

I know that in my experience 18 months down the line I felt everything had been done to provide support for the member of staff in terms of training, mentoring and encouraging reflection into any issues that existed. It's a long time to invest and can be very tiring when you think your getting somewhere only to be facing problems still! In the end it really can get you down, I haven't felt at ease about even leaving the setting for a long time as when I have things have gone seriously pear shaped.

 

The deputy role is key and really does need somebody who can take on the full range of responsibilities that go with it. I think after such a long time you do feel more and more frustrated if you are simply banging your head against a brick wall!

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Thank you all for your responses.

 

 

Hi Sam,

 

I know that in my experience 18 months down the line I felt everything had been done to provide support for the member of staff in terms of training, mentoring and encouraging reflection into any issues that existed. It's a long time to invest and can be very tiring when you think your getting somewhere only to be facing problems still! In the end it really can get you down, I haven't felt at ease about even leaving the setting for a long time as when I have things have gone seriously pear shaped.

 

The deputy role is key and really does need somebody who can take on the full range of responsibilities that go with it. I think after such a long time you do feel more and more frustrated if you are simply banging your head against a brick wall!

 

I couldn't have put it better myself Moo20. Over the past 18 months I have tried to be collaborative. I feel I have been ineffective in managing this member of staff and I want to be more effective, hence the reason for seeking support from the forum from people who can guide me.

 

Sam - your post did sound a little critical so I really appreciate your edited comment. It is difficult to portray every detail in a public forum, I cannot give the full history.

 

Bridger - you make a good point that other members of staff should have made sure certain things happened but perhaps they are tired of doing her job for her. She is not supernumary, and I feel she should be leading the session. Less senior staff could also fear treading on a more senior person's toes.

 

I was recruited to replace the deputy, who stepped down voluntarily and through her own admission was not assertive enough.

 

I'm having to learn to lead people, by day-to-day practice and from being led in previous jobs.

 

I had to conduct a disciplinary meeting with her some time ago which resulted in a final written warning over a single incident. I know what to do when faced with a serious issue, what I am having difficulty with is how to manage a lower level lack of commitment to the role, which is causing resentment from others and a lack of leadership and responsibilty that is potentially more serious. As Moo said, I feel uneasy about being away from the setting sometimes.

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I think Moo's suggestion of going through her job description is a great one, as is a weekly meeting that addresses the bullet points that you will come up with each week (which will be expansions of her job description really). That way, you can look at the bulleted points, discuss them, record what you've both said, and set new targets for the following week. By the sound of it, it will be like spinning plates, and you'll have to return to targets from previous weeks to make sure they are being maintained.

 

Good luck with this: I think you're showing excellent leadership here in that you are thinking about all sorts of alternatives to improve this member of staff's competence and ultimately the quality of your provision. I'm sure your staff will see this and support you in your efforts. :o

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Moo, yes I meant to respond to Deb, Sorry.

 

Deb, I didn't mean to criticise, it sounds like you've tried every avenue, and I can appreciate how frustrating it must be that you cannot depend on your deputy when you need to be out. I hope one way or another this situation is resolved and you are better supported.

 

Good luck

 

Sam

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Moo, yes I meant to respond to Deb, Sorry.

 

Deb, I didn't mean to criticise, it sounds like you've tried every avenue, and I can appreciate how frustrating it must be that you cannot depend on your deputy when you need to be out. I hope one way or another this situation is resolved and you are better supported.

 

Good luck

 

Sam

 

Thanks Sam

 

I'm going to do as you have all kindly suggested, go through the JD with her next week and set weekly targets.

 

During our brief discussion today she couldn't offer any excuse for not implementing the agreed daily routine.....arghhhh!!!!

 

Thanks Helen for your advice and support too.

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me again!

 

Exactly the same situation Debs as I said before. I actually went from practitioner under the deputy to manager so from the word go it was a difficult situation I guess and I truly was thrown in at the deep end, my first taste of management too!

 

18 months on and I can honestly say I've dealt with am extreme ammount of challenges! But by far the toughest has deffinately been team leadership and staffing issues, still is and still gives me sleepless nights! One thing I have learnt is that some people just aren't cut out for it, for any number of reasons. My ex-deputy was thrown straight into a lead role on leaving college after her level three and under extremely bad management, she never had that strong basis to grow from and 8 years on was used to doing things her own way and I just don't think she wanted to change and progress.

 

After such a long time trying I think we were both relieved that she made the decision to leave childcare. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try you just can't instill that passion in others! the rest of the team and me have had to work so hard for so long at filling in the gaps she left and I can't wait to have someone in post now that I can (hopefully) rely on. It's finally a chance to start from scratch and from day one make it clear what the position entails! So even worst case scenario has a silver lining, that is if I survive the next six weeks coverring both roles of course!!!!

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have been, two rounds of interviews later and hoping I've cracked it! Nightmare term to be recruiting a new supervisor, don't know whether I'm coming or going!

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It always astounds me that when I look on here I see such similar situations to myself....it's a problem and probably human nature to have groups of women working together and being a manager struggling to contain egos and try to work out who is playing a game with the relationship and who is genuine - it is all soooo draining...I think I go around in circles, I love my job - I keep saying that but bloody hell my Deputy is off sick again for two weeks and it is the busiest time...I dont think she will return this school year...she has had terrible circumstances - her husband died in January - but my problem is I still have to manage the nursery and prior to her devastating circumstances she was not doing her job and so now I feel I cant say anything....since working at my nursery I have had one member of staff off for 5 months with stress (full pay) (committee decision) - one off for 3 months (full pay) and my deputy had 3 months off when her husband died and has been back for two weeks and now off for probably the rest of the year (full pay) - I guess part of me thinks that the committee are soooo generous and supportive that staff are taking advantage of this...as awful as this situation is my deputy is also studying for her FD and is 4 assignments behind ...I know its harsh but she is signed off sick to catch up on the degree work - she has as much as told me that...shouldnt her priority be work?

24 transfer forms to do, scrapbooks to do, cover to arrange, stress, stress, stress, other staff all up in arms about the implications of someone on full pay for no responsibility and frightened to ring in sick as they know we are stretched.....

 

 

aaarrrrggghhh screeeeammmm - Its just a rollercoaster of stress...Ofsted may say we are Outstanding - I dont feel it - its killing me to be so!

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Poor you, it's been the same for me over the last few weeks with staff being off and supervisor leaving. How on earth do you afford to have staff off on full pay? I'm sure you must be in the minority there, are they on flexible hourly rate contracts or salaried?

 

I've actually had one member of staff off on compassionate grounds for a month, due to the circumstances I didn't want her back until she was ready and we can't afford to pay staff when their off. Becuase I'm aware of her financial situation (who can afford a month with no pay) I actually offered to work all her after school shifts for nothing so we could pay her that 15 hours a week without it costing us. It took me up to a 50 hour week (on paper) and do you know what? All she has done since being back is moan about being skint because of the last months pay!!!! Not a single word of thanks! Unbelievable!

 

I had a stupid misconception that if I was fair, honest, worked hard and respected everyone I'd end up with a loyal and hard working team who would be willing to the extra mile. In reality I seem to spend all my time listening to everyones moans and gripes, keeping the peace and working harder than ever rather than ask extra! :o

 

I would love a male practitioner to difuse all those hormones! We even mensturate at the same times as we clearly spend way too much time together, that's a really fun week!!! I'm also not convinced that the deputy role works, I know we have to have one but although I've named an acting deputy I have to admit that after picking up all the pieces I'm almost finding it easier to function without one! I'm just hoping that I can start the new deputy off on the right footing to avoid all the problems I've had until now!

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I had a stupid misconception that if I was fair, honest, worked hard and respected everyone I'd end up with a loyal and hard working team who would be willing to the extra mile. In reality I seem to spend all my time listening to everyones moans and gripes, keeping the peace and working harder than ever rather than ask extra! :o

It sounds to me like you need to get your team together, tell them how you feel and then put your foot down with a firm hand! No more Mrs Nice Manager!

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I think I may put up an 'invincible' front!

 

I spend alot of time making sure that everything runs as easily as possible for them, I like systems and always consult and monitor through team discussion to find the easiest way of doing things.

 

I don't know, I suppose I feel like i am the one who has to be strong and support everyone else, hmmmm, wonder why I'm like that? Oh dear, well when I've finished my sunday p.m. paperwork marathon I'll have a long soak with a glass of wine and do a bit of digging!

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I don't know, I suppose I feel like i am the one who has to be strong and support everyone else, hmmmm, wonder why I'm like that?

Sadly it seems to be the common denominator and almost a pre-requisite for those working in the caring professions. Enjoy the wine though!

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"I don't know, I suppose I feel like i am the one who has to be strong and support everyone else, hmmmm, wonder why I'm like that? Oh dear, well when I've finished my sunday p.m. paperwork marathon I'll have a long soak with a glass of wine and do a bit of digging!"

 

 

Ditto - except I am still wading through paperwork - beer later I hope :oxD

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Ditto - except I am still wading through paperwork - beer later I hope :oxD

If ever there was a silver lining to the great black cloud of my closing the nursery, it is not having to do very much of this. I'm off to Bristol to pick up my big boy from University this afternoon, so no paperwork is a Very Good Thing.

 

Good luck to those of you givin up their Sundays to prepare for work next week. I hope you get to enjoy a suitable reward later for your efforts!

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Poor you Shirel, we started this journey as managers at the same time, you have my sympathy and admiration for keeping your head above water. What about our stress levels!!

 

Moo, like you I thought that I could treat people with respect, work hard, and motivate people but it hasn't worked with everybody. Having chatted yesterday with my sister who is an HR manager, I think Maz has a point - no more Mrs Nice Manager! I am not suggesting you or I turn into a spiteful unreasonable monster over night but no more allowing people to take the mickey! Taking a wage without fulfilling a role is fraud (I'm referring to my own situation here not anybodyelse's).

 

I wonder what tomorrow will bring :o .

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"I wonder what tomorrow will bring".

 

Me too, hopefully nothing too out of the ordinary, maybe I need to practice my assertiveness on my family! :o

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