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Head in the sand


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I am struggling with my manager at the moment she seems to stick her head in the sand constantly when it comes to sorting out issues. I am so frustrated at what to do about it. Some staff are not pulling their weight with general duties and it is upsetting those of us that are, as our manager either denies it is happening or just shrugs it off instead of dealing with it. When a staff member made a comment to another staff member about them not doing something she took her aside to tell her that is her job and not theirs to speak to staff like that. It is starting to cause atmosphere at work.

It is the same when it comes to parent issues, she would rather fob it off than approach a parent about anything to do with money, behaviour etc because she "doesn't want to upset the apple cart" (her words). Hence we now have non paying parents outstanding with fees, behavioural issues with children going unchecked and all this is just the tip of the iceberg. I was so close to walking out today I just can't see a positive future. It is soul destroying because I love my job working with the children but cannot stand the rest of it and can see no option other than to leave.I have told her over and over the problems and fobbed off with excuses and then she gets moody like a stroppy teenager. She doesn't answer to anyone and owns the nursery so I am up against a brick wall at every turn.

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I'm one of two supervisors who oversee when she is not there so technically yes. When she is away it runs smoothly between us two as we deal with the issues that arise but then she gets grumpy about that when she returns often telling us that she is the manager and we have to get her permission before dealing with stuff whether she is away or not! argh!!

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It sounds as if you need to sit down as a team and have a good talk. Have you contacted your early years advisor? If you feel that she is not operating to the statutory framework then you should really do something, no matter how uncomfortable it makes her feel. Just because she is the owner, she cannot flout common sense and regulations.

 

I don't particularly like approaching parents with late fees, but it comes with the territory!

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Can I offer you another perspective? I'm not suggesting in any way that this is what is happening here but something for you to consider, from a managers perspective!

 

I would also like to say that it is very important to realise how difficult a managers job can be. its a juggling act: parents, staff, Ofsted, government initiatives, advisory services, committees, employment law. And very often there expectations of how things should be run are VERY different.

 

I currently have some members of staff who feel as you do about other staff members not pulling their weight. However one of the things I always ensure is that we do things professionally. So if performance is an issue with a member of staff, this will be dealt with, but not in front of other staff and children or parents. It will be dealt with 1:1 or in staff meetings if more appropriate. So very often my staff members will see 1 side of it (the underperformance) rather than the tackling aspect of it. And unfortunately when it comes to performance it is often a long process and not a quick fix (not easy to see immediate results).

 

Unfortunately the previous manager, thought the correct way to deal with things was to have a shouting match in front of other staff, children and parents!

 

One of the problems I have with the current situation is that some staff members feel that a particular staff member does not help tidy up. I have to repeatedly remind all staff that there should be some staff tidying up whilst others still with the children. Despite these frequent reminders as soon as 1 staff member starts to tidy up ,most others follow leaving nobody to play with the children. So it normally is the same staff member playing with the children, she's not being lazy but doing what I've asked. I know this is the case because I often find myself being the same person to be with the children because all of the other staff members rush to tidy up!

 

Another thing to consider is that sometimes there are specific reasons that staff do not do certain tasks i.e. there is a health condition. It may not be appropriate to discuss a member of staffs health issues with the whole staff team.

 

We've recently had to dismiss a staff member due to performance issues. This was a an extremely lengthily process (over a year). The process was exhausting it involved countless one to ones, meetings with committee, solicitors, phone calls to ACAS etc, basically a horrendous experience. However none of the staff saw any of that side of it. all they saw was the staff member's underperformance, it certainly did not mean it was not being dealt with.

 

Sorry I've written an essay but I just wanted to give an insight into a managers role and how difficult it can be sometimes!

 

Jo

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I really appreciate you making that post Westie. While I can understand how frustrating it must be for jamandbread and it sounds like her manager needs to take some time to think about her role, a manager's job is really, really hard. I sometimes think that if I worked 24 hours a day, I still wouldn't get everything done. When you're trying to keep children, parents, staff, the LA, Ofsted, and numerous other people happy some things don't always go exactly as you would have liked them to. You're absolutely right in saying that others don't realise the work that goes on 'unseen'. I have a great team, most of them very supportive. But many people I come to contact with, either in the setting day-to-day or other professionals, have only one aspect of my job to think about, whether its safeguarding, finance, recruitment, SEN, planning, SEF, etc etc. It's when you put it all together that it becomes HUGE!I

Reading this back it sounds like I think what jamandbread's manager is doing is ok and I really don't. I just think you sometimes need to look at the bigger picture and look for the reasons why she is behaving in the way she is. Does she feel threatened, unsupported, unable to cope? Is there any way to offer help? Or have things gone too far? I think Cait is right in that it needs talking about and getting to the root of the problem. But that is much easier said than done. I really hope you can get things sorted out. If not it may be time to move on.

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