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authority undermined

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by piconvinblanc, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. piconvinblanc

    piconvinblanc New commenter

    One of the staff in my department ( I am Subject Leader ) has booked himself on a course provided by exam board without checking with me first. I also wanted /needed to go on this course but exam board won't allow more than one person per school . I took this up with my Line Manager and he has ruled against me , saying I must let that member of staff go. I feel he has really undermined me as subject leader/head of department and I simply don't know how to handle this .
    Any ideas ?
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    What reasoning was given?

    Depends how badly you want to go on the course and how unpopular you are prepared to make yourself with your own manager.

    Personally I'd let it go and book myself on the next round of courses and/or remind your junior colleague to feed back to you when he gets back.

    You also need to remind him of protocol about checking with you first.

    If it's part of a pattern of undermining then you need to tell us more. But one incident? Let it go. A bit of a blow to your pride but no huge deal. Unless your junior staff-member is constantly taking the mick?
    sabrinakat likes this.
  3. ValentinoRossi

    ValentinoRossi Star commenter

    You seem to be a little insecure IMO.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Unless you "need" the course because you are not allowed to enter candidates unless you have been, then I don't think it's really necessary. It will be an excellent opportunity for your junior colleague to have the experience of cascading what they have learned to the rest of the department; maybe the school would be willing to give you all a lesson or two off timetable to facilitate this, which would be rather cheaper than sending two people on the course. You've probably been on exam board courses before - obviously not for the latest specs, but your colleague will probably have more to gain than you, as the course may well cover some things that are common to previous specs.
    If you want to set up a protocol whereby going on courses is cleared with you in future, then fair enough, but beware that it doesn't look to others like you are making sure you can cherry-pick the best ones. There is something to be said for giving staff some autonomy over choosing courses, so they have control over their own professional development.
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Oh, and how to handle it with your colleague:
    "I gather you've booked onto the exam board course - that's good thinking - we need somebody to go and then feed back to the rest of us."
    Optional extra bits:
    "I wish you'd mentioned it though - I looked a bit of an idiot when I told SLT we needed someone to go."
    "I'd like you to prepare a summary for the rest of the department, and I'll book some department time to follow on from that - would <this date> give you enough time to circulate something?"
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Oh dear, you are not having an easy time, are you?

    What with being about to be signed off with depression two weeks ago, and then off last week with an operation probably for several weeks, and unable to walk properly . . .

    Now this on top of all that.

    You would be best to let it go, to be honest. Especially as you aren't in school at the moment, which makes it more difficult to have a face-to-face pleasant discussion. E-mail can come over harsher than you might mean.

    Best wishes for your health to recover

  7. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Exactly as @frustum says. Advise your dept colleague on what you will be needing them to do next dept meeting to feed back to the whole dept and indeed anyone else on the staff who might find it useful. Maybe even a member of the slt to be invited to witness how engaged that member of dept has been on the course
    I for one was pretty fed up at the certain people who got out of school on rather nice days out (not to mention the staff who jollied off to Scandinavia, Australia and Canada) and who fed back not one iota of their great experience to anyone else on the staff (not that these experiences were advertised so ordinary souls could apply to go on them).... Never ever got to hear of anything useful reported back to staff from those folk. I reckon I got to go to one day in Salford on a Record of Achievement course and yes I was booked to feedback in full at the next year meeting about it.

    oops posted after Frustrum's 2nd post too
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  8. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    I think it's a really good thing for team members other than subject lead to go on courses. Not only does it give them a chance for some direct CPD but also contributes to a healthy team ethos.
    Let it go and enjoy the fact that your teammate wants to develop.
  9. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    I'm confused :confused:. At the weekend you posted that you were off sick so how could your colleague have run this training past you anyway?
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  10. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    If it's run by the exam board, chances are you will get nearly everything you need in a handout (eg, all the powerpoint slides, and so on).

    Perhaps your line manager was actually thinking like this...

    ""Picovinblanc would want to go on this course. But he's the HoD and I think he'd be able to pick it all up anyway if he spends a lunch break looking over Mr Upstart's handouts. Mr Upstart's pretty new, after all...best thing for him would be to spend the whole day in London so we can guarantee he'll get the CPD he needs. Good chance for him to contribute to the department at last, instead of Picovinblanc having to do everything constantly!""
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  11. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I was with you until Theo suggested that you were not in school at the moment and had health issues.

    This is a good opportunity to let someone else potentially take some leadership of something. Reality is, with you away the school has to carry on running. What if you are booked on the course but are not well/back at school for it?

    To be fair, I am unsure how they could have run it past you if you were not there.
  12. Peter9999

    Peter9999 New commenter

    I think your colleague deserves a big thank you for showing some initiative in taking on some of your workload without bothering you.
    wanet and grumpydogwoman like this.
  13. piconvinblanc

    piconvinblanc New commenter

    Thank you grumpydogwoman I did want to go on the course and I am not too bothered about being unpopular with my line manager.
    But I am going to follow your advice and let it go and just remind everybody in the department about the protocol when booking courses .
    However, to answer your other question , this has happened before with my previous line manager ruling in favour of the same ember of staff and yes that junior staff-member is taking the Micky on a regular basis which is why I am not sure how to handle all this
  14. piconvinblanc

    piconvinblanc New commenter

    Although off sick recovering from surgery I have kept in touch by email and that person could have easily emailed me to run it past me; failing that she could have checked win my deputy who is at school . And neither of these happened .
  15. piconvinblanc

    piconvinblanc New commenter

    Dear Theogriff , yes well , the depression Has been mainly brought about by this incident and especially the way I have been treated by my Line Manager when I questioned why she had ruled against me ; she should have at least waited for my return and discussed it with me then so it is going to be very hard for me to go back to work
  16. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    If you were my line manager and off sick I would not be contacting you. You're off sick and should not be working. Don't get involved in what happens in your absence, especially if it is making you feel anxious.
  17. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    I think you're being unfair to your line manager and colleague. You've been signed off as unfit for work and you're putting them in a very difficult position. It isn't usual for a person off sick to have that level of input and they're probably treading on eggshells knowing that you're ill and could potentially get into trouble for contacting them.
    Just remember that you aren't the only person in the team you work in who is capable of making decisions for the department.
  18. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Usually, the advice is not to bother people who are off sick with schol stuff. Several people on this forum have complained about contact from school while off sick. In your absence, the school has to be run by the people who are still there, and they are entitled to take whatever decisions they think right. Having approved your colleague going on this coure, it would be unfair of them to change their minds. It could also cause bad feeling in your department - "it's not fair, piconvinblanc has grabbed the course I was supposed to be going on..." - which would make life difficult for you on your return.

    I am afraid that I am uncomfortable with the idea of managers having first call on courses. Schools are responsible for giving all teachers relevant CPD opportunities, so there wil be times when it is better for a more junior member of staff to go on a course rather than a subject leader. They can (and should, if asked) brief the rest of the department on what they have learned.

    I would take @frustum 's excellemt advice.
  19. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    I've always been advised in the past to allow those off sick to have the rest that the doctor has prescribed and not to bother them with work-related stuff. If you're off sick, then use that time to get better without worrying about work.

    If this is happening regularly then that's a different matter, however in this instance, I can't see how the school or members of staff could have done anything differently. If they were contacting you regularly, then they run the risk of being seen as bullying you with unnecessary contact whilst off sick. If you're not fit to work, then don't work is always my approach.
  20. piconvinblanc

    piconvinblanc New commenter

    Thanks for your comment Redquilt although I admit that the use of the word unfair baffles me ; as I see it , they are unfair to me ,taking advantage of the fact that I am not in school at the moment . And by the way , if you knew the Individuals I am referring to , you would know that they never hesitate to call peolple when off sick etc so that is not the reason they acted like that . So I am sorry you think I am unfair , I am actually suffering from depression because of a lot of things which are going on at school so I don' t know if you have ever suffered from depression Redquilt but I can assure you it is not much fun. W
    And so the word unfair is not quite relevant here and it is judgemental which of course I
    Is not what I wanted ; I put a post on the forum to get help not judgement !
    And of course I am not arrogant enough to think I am e only person in the department who can make decisions ; so thanks for your comments but wit all respect , you have missed the point

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