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Dealing with awkward staff

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Miss Pious, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. Literally as the title says, what strategies do you use when dealing with very challenging and awkward individuals/colleaues that have been allowed to get away with this historically, and now need to break this cycle?
     
  2. erp77

    erp77 New commenter

    Do everything graciously and with a smile - they will hate it!
     
  3. If they are more senior, smile and nod and say 'yes I'll get onto that immediately' and then forget it. Or say 'could you just memo me on that, because I'm sure I'll forget' - they never do, so I feel I can quite fairly forget - seeing as we have a stupid amount of pointless things to do anyway.
    If same level as it were as me (ie 'just' a teacher ) - depends if I'm feeling fiesty or not - usually not, so just play blonde and dump and nod and make 'uhuh' vague noises then forget it. Or if its really important I'd try to tactfully and politely tackle them on it - try and sweeten the pot with a compliment, and a self depreciating comment to make it a bit easier to swallow, try and turn it into 'their' idea a little perhaps ("It sounds a lot like what you were saying actually......isn't that right?" ) or if I'm just in a really bad mood just be outright blunt. I get away with it I think as some members of staff already think I'm quite rude, because I was raised in a different part of the country and therefore have different locale takes on things I think (ie that Northern/Southern divide thing).
    If its someone in a different role from me, ie a TA or dinner supervisor etc I tend to have a word in jokey type terms with them, if that doesn't have any effect at all I refer it to their line manager (which I am not).
    This is for all things that don't really matter, which is the vast majority of things that happen in school really - I tend to do my own thing a lot of the time anyway whilst smiling and nodding away (Yes, yes, I'll make sure I mark in green, not red. Yes yes, I'll make sure we get those prayers in 6 times a day. Yes yes I'll make sure I fill out pointless pieces of paper for you) - no-one has actually died yet and I seem to do pretty well at a) getting 2 or more sublevels out of most of the kiddies and b) walking away with a bounty of Xmas and end of year pressies that says I'm pretty well liked by kids and parents as well and c) Ofsted consistently say I'm an outstanding teacher (not that I put a huge amount of stock in such things, but SMT seem to think its important apparently) so I'm a happy bunny and confident all is well. Water>>ducks back. If they are really that much of a pain in the postier they will get their comeuppance at some point.

     
  4. Thanks for the advice. Sadly situation is beyond this!
     
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Maybe ask on HT or SMT forums, they probably have more experience of dealing with this kind of thing?

    Those of us who are 'just' teachers (loved that description above!) really have no experience beyond that already given.
     
  6. Are you talking about staff who you are responsible for mananging or colleagues of equal or even senior status to you?
    Is there more information you can give without identifying yourself?
     
  7. Limited info I can give - for obvious reasons - the member of staff is someone that I am repsonsible for managing and really need any fuyrther advice to decide upon appropriate actions before the holidays next week...
     
  8. Probably not much use taking advice from someone like me who's lower down the food chain but imagine the Headteacher forum would be a good place to get advice.
    If it's as bad as it sounds you maybe able to go down the disciplinary or capability route but may need to check with your HR first - this is if you're the head. If you're not the head, you need to talk to your head. I'd also make sure you keep written records if you have a concern about this person's professional performance and/or conduct. I'd also see if there are other staff who share your concerns.
    Good luck with sorting it out.
     
  9. Have you tried looking at things from their perspective? I don't know your situation and i would be interested to better understand the overall situation.

    You as a 'manager' has a duty of care for those you manage. You should be looking for strategies to get the best from your staff. Give a little, get a lot is often the way things work well.

    It is important that you consider the possibility that there are things you could do to make things better and consider the damage that might result should you make the wrong decisions regarding any actions you might initiate.

     
  10. TBH if we were discussing any other member of staff I would agree wholeheartedly. In this case it has been a case of the staff member taking what they like, and really being able to manipulate situations due to their experience of succeeding using inappropriate means historically.
     
  11. If they are having success, (results?) and they are good at keeping people onside then your aim might be best to aim to coexist rather than feeling the need to dominate. (I don't mean that to sound the way it probably does).

    It seems that you are getting yourself stressed out because of this person. If that is the case, then you need to establish if there is an intention on their part to cause you stress of if you are simply choosing to be stressed by the way they do (or do not do) their job. (if they are bullying you, then the same old stuff about not reacting the way they expect you to in response to things they do to is an important strategy - there is lots of stuff on the forums re workplace bullying) - being more senior gives you the upper hand but if you aim to use HR tools, don't expect a satisfactory result for anyone.

    Either way,you need to adopt strategies so that you go to work to at least cope and ideally to enjoy your work. That might require that you reconsider expectations you have of yourself as well as those you have of others.

    Have a look on Amazon at the books 'Nasty People' and 'The sociopath next door' - regardless if everything bout should be read and their perspectives considered.
     
  12. Awful situation. [​IMG] I was once bullied out of a job by a TA whose brainpower equalled that of a handful of moths (but she was very skilled at chatting to my line manager about nail polish hair dye... No advice (I failed this test), just to say that be careful, "from down below" bullies can be as powerful as those from above...
     
  13. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Indeed. I know a primary head who was bullied witless by a TA in her school who talked volubly about her in the local community, using things she knew and often things she made up. The TA refused to be directed, would respond with 'I'm well known in this community and I can make your life hell' and encouraged other TAs to behave in the same way. The governors weren't interested in supporting the head and the LA simply said 'Yes we know all about her...'
     
  14. How appalling! So the LA and governing body were happy to let a TA run the school - after all, that's what's happening if the head is scared of the TA! You would hope OFSTED would actually scare the LEA and governors into making sure the head had full authority - after all, I can't imagine OFSTED would be impressed by a school where a TA called the shots. Feel very sorry for the head in question.
     
  15. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    I'm not sure how you think Ofsted could get to know about the situation as described by MM.
     
  16. What I really meant is that there would be a lack of strong leadership but then maybe that can be hidden from OFSTED quite easily.
     

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