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Am I Doing This Right?


marley
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Hi all

Well have made an appointment with manager (im chair!).

 

Went in on fri and 2 staff not happy with manager, saying she does nothing, that she is lazy, just there for the money (in fact manager was in the library with 3 girls whislt the other staff were with all the others in the main room - I had to say to her that i thought the staff needed her support in the other room). Other issues include, inapporpriate comments to staff, not helping with setting up doing displays, favouring certain staff. I have seen some of this myself in that it is always the deputy that does these things with the manager only doing it when she is off. Dont get me wrong the manager at this time is not doing admin as she is paid 5 hrs separately for this. She seems to "potter". I have my own issues which include not completing points off the action plan quick enough. I have now asked for manager to complete a job sheet for the 5hrs admin we pay her as would like to know what she is doing given this.

 

This week saw her pass her suitable person interview which really made her read the welfare requirments, policies etc (im still waiting the offical letter for this!). Before this i kept asking her to read the documents but was not convinced that she did.

 

So at this meeting Im going to informally discuss this with her and then set targets to achieve within one month. Some of the management issues came up at her appraisal in April but we gave her benefit of the doubt as she was still training and we sent her on a leadership course.

 

Any advice on how I tackle the staff issues with manager given that I only see part of their complaints?

Is it feasible to ask staff to address their concerns with the manager themselves (in future) or should it be myself who has to settle these issues?

 

Thanks for any advice.

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I would say that if this is about concerns re her capability to do the job as described in her job description then it is her line manager's (equivalent ie you?) job to tackle it. You would have to hear what she's got to say obviously but clear identification of the issues that are arising from her current managerial style would then address the issues of how what she is doing is impacting on staff morale and effectiveness. I think that issues of effectiveness can't really be managed up by the staff below her. They have made their complaint and need to understand that it is being acted upon by the managers manager.

 

Cx

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Guest terrydoo73

Firstly can I say I am coming from the other angle of being a playgroup leader and want to try and help you to look at it from your manager's point of view.

 

It would appear that your problem might be with the rest of the staff ie they are not motivated by your manager. What do they honestly want from their manager? Is it a case that the language she is using may have been taken the wrong way by individuals - I know I have been accused of this in the past without realising its double meaning. Surely it is about team work - are your staff members not giving appropriate input into how displays are done just shrugging shoulders and saying "I don't know". Do you have times when staff get together and air their opinions - we have a meeting once a week and just throw ideas into the air which are recorded and then developed over the coming weeks. Have you considered why she was alone with 3 children - did the staff not want to be with her and support her rather than her supporting them? As for time getting things done - it is definately not easy as sometimes it is like a pressure cooker. I go home many a day thinking what did I actually achieve today and then realise that because of incidents that were outside my control and took up most of my day I did not perhaps achieve what I really wanted to.

 

I am paid to do about 2 1/2 hours a week admin personally outside of the normal observation records etc and to be honest I spend probably double that with crossing so many t's and dotting i's. I am never questioned by my Committee about what is done but take a step back for a moment - have you anything in writing to say what you require your Manager to do during those 5 hours admin time? If I was being questioned I would take great offence as I am responsible for receipting all monies received into the playgroup, writing letters to parents about new start dates or holidays, preparing a monthly newsletter, researching ideas on how to extend children's interests, providing photographic evidence for personal scrapbooks, replying to emails and letters on grant applications and quotations from suppliers as well as developing long term plans for the Playgroup. All of this requires time and may seem fiddly to other staff members but if they were asked to do these things could they honestly say they would fit it all in to 5 hours a week?

 

Do you have a set time when you get together say once a week with your manager to actually talk to her. I thrive on off loading simple things to my direct manager, things that niggle me and sometimes just doing this once a week helps me to get focus again. I also meet with other leaders once in a while to discuss in a general way things that concern us all and sometimes sharing how we deal with things does help.

 

I have been through a suitable person interview and would recommend it even for all staff members as it is so horrible and detailed and makes you think of how much you do actually know and do on a daily basis without second thought - how many of your staff members would have a detailed knowledge of all your policies? It is easy to judge others but not easy to point a finger back at yourself. Is there a grudge that has been allowed to develop amongst your staff and been fuelled by little niggly things - these need to be addressed quickly and get to the root before all your staff become demotivated.

 

All the best and hopefully I have not caused offence!

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All the best and hopefully I have not caused offence!

I'm sure you haven't caused offence, terrydoo73. It is always good to consider another viewpoint, and to remind ourselves that what we see might only be part of the story.

 

I think I've spoken here before about the trauma I went through after taking on the supervisor's post in my current nursery when the previous postholder decided to stand down, but not to leave the setting. Both the scenarios you and marley describe sound fairly similar to mine and in my case there was genuine misunderstanding of my role and what I was doing at each session, with a lot of malice thrown in for good measure.

 

It was incredibly difficult for me to carry on when the issues came to light, and I began to think twice before I said or did anything at all. I became very demotivated, and just wanted to hide myself away in the cupboard and not face anyone. Fortunately my boss was 100% supportive of me and we discussed what we could do to rectify the situation before presenting a united front and making it clear how the chain of command worked.

 

It may be marley that your manager is feeling out of her depth and unsupported. I'm not sure if she feels the staff are talking about her behind her back, but I remember those conversations that stopped whenever I entered the room or walked past a couple of practitioners and started again when they thought I was out of earshot. It makes you paranoid and fearful and no-one can perform at their best under those circumstances.

 

I think you can only proceed with openness and honesty, and be ready to pick up the pieces if she reveals to you her own tale of woe. Of course if she is not performing her duties then you have to make it clear that these issues need to be tackled so that you can all proceed on a positive footing. If she reveals a need for more support then you need to draw up a specific agreement between the two of you so that you can help her to get back on track and perform to the best of her abilities. Even then at some point down the line you might need to agree that she is just not capable of performing the duties as laid down in her job description.

 

Managing staff is the most difficult part of our job I think, and few of us receive training for the role when we first take it on. One thing she has in her favour though is a Chair of committee who takes the matter seriously and will be fair and even handed.

 

Good luck!

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I kind of agree with the above...also coming from a preschool leader POV and currently dealing with my committee who feel I am asking for too much supernumerary time and questioning what I would need the additional paid admin time for... they want to get a manager in to essentially do the tasks I dont have time for ( basically confirming the time I have is not enough...but thats a whole different story!) :o

 

I guess having to deal with people questioning my performance recently makes me empathise with this girl ... but only you will be able to identify if things are really as they seem to the other staff...Anyway - just a few thoughts that came to me as I read this -

It could be that the other staff dont know what is expected of the manager - have they the opportunity to see her job description?...and maybe she has yet to find her feet and to settle into some routine regarding the daily tasks..so she will seem to 'potter' I guess..perhaps she is observing what staff are doing - keeping an eye on things??

...and maybe being in the other room is a clear sign that she is struggling - maybe the others are making things difficult for her...making her feel unwelcome...?

She is still relatively new to management, she's had a huge responsibility placed on her shoulders...she may be realising now just how much she has taken on and needs some extra support to make it through this 'storming' phase of team building when little niggles / clashes are almost inevitable as people learn how to work together.

 

I'd definitely agree you should meet regularly with her in any case. I dont have that opportunity currently and the feeling of isolation is huge and it does mean that issues build up...

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Thanks guys and its good to get opinions from others..

 

however you are all probably pre-school leaders and knowing my own manger at pre-school who has 2 days admin its still not enough with sen, cafs, paperwork etc etc. This however is different as its an out of school club. None of that. It is me as chair or the rest of the committee that deals with parents emails, bookings, newsletters, booking training courses for staff, i have dealt with 2 complaints in the last 2 weeks, food ordering is done as standing order, resources once per 3 months so would expect that as we pay her 5 hrs per week that some of the actions on the action plan would have been done in the last 7 months. We were suppposed to only do this whilst she did all the reading and settled into the setting and management. Her last appraisal I said I wanted to start handing things over such as the training.

 

She doesnt do obs, childrens files etc as this is done by deputy (6 children only are EYFS), planning is just a case of having one activity out for each area and i could do it in 30 mins.

I have been asking her to read welfare requirments, annual risk assess, policies and procedures and it was only the threat of the suitable person interview that made her pull her finger out. She actually admittted this to me today. In fact she put an extra 3 hrs on her time sheet for reading when we have been paying the 5 hrs for months. Hence the committee want to know what she is doing with those 5 hrs.

 

The deputy was temporary manager so knows exactly what the job entails but didnt want to do it permanently (frightned of OFSTED was her reason). Just the way the manager is I can definately tell you she doesnt feel isolated or talked about. She said that she thought it was about time she could relax with it all now until the interview happened!! To be honest if i wasnt in the job im in she would be expected to do all the things i have been doing to support her ie SEF, as the chair normally wouldnt have a clue!

 

My own personal point of view is that she is young and immature. All staff, including her are 21 yrs and girls so may explain it. However, the school cook who does bank staff, is a hard working and mature individual and whose opinion I respect has told me these things too so its not just from the girls there.

 

I met with her this afternoon...really praised her for passing the suitable person interview. Said I would ensure any new info I got I would pass onto her to keep her upto date. Talked about the action plan and the hope that she can complete one thing per week. Asked her how staff were and she said they are ok. They have weekly staff meetings where they can air their views opinions etc although nothing is said. I said I was concerned that some staff seem to be doing more work than others and that this may seem un fair to others. We talked about giving staff reponsibilities for areas, eg a display board each. I also asked her to go back and look at her notes from the leadership/management course she recently went on. Asked her to think about her own last manager and what she liked/disliked about her. Talked about being sensitive, firm but fair with others. Also said that i would try and arrange a buddying thing with another club so she can see how things are done somewhere else, talk to another manager.

She took it all on board and now will have to wait and see what happens.

I do meet with her every morning as I go in 15 mins before i actually need to leave for work.

Think as you suggest if i meet with her monthly this may also help her. Its taking up so much of my time though!

Edited by marley
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