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Might your work ethic change if you were given greater autonomy?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Duke of York, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    What do you reckon? Would you go to work on Mondays with a spring in your step if what you did was entirely up to you, or do you feel more comfortable being micro-managed?

    Do you have the confidence in yourself that you'd be able to survive OK if you were given a free hand to do things your way and be paid on results?

    If you do, why do you imagine this isn't an option?
  2. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    I worked for a head once who allowed everyone a 'free rein' if they had an idea they wanted to run with and always took the view (well with me anyway) that he would 'back you in public' no matter what. It was amazing how much work he got out of people.

    I took on a project with a view that I would do sufficient but not let it take over my life. I was just allowed to get on with it and I ended up putting in way more hours than I intended to make it work the way I wanted. I saw others do the same. That was one clever leader/manager. There were many staff who would have walked over hot coals for him.
    Oh and in most cases I don't think there was any payment by results - if there had been I think the tendency would have been to play safe, ask for permission, constant reporting back etc. with all its wasted time and lack of creativity or innovation, rather than just light touch reporting and checking back
  3. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I've been very lucky in my new school - I can choose the texts (I teach Classics), have decided to move exam boards for new GCSE and am planning trips, activities and other aspects - I am enjoying the autonomy but of course, I still have the marking, the exam preparation and other routine parts, but I do feel happier and am glad to spend the extra time creating materials, etc., as I am trusted by my HOD to do a good job. There have been some rough patches, mainly to do with SLT, but I am enjoying it! ['My' exam results in my last two jobs were respectable, so cross fingers, I can continue that here]
    Dragonlady30 and IceCreamVanMan like this.
  4. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    I used to have greater autonomy at school and did more. Then micro-management stepped in and filled the time I used to do voluntary stuff in with pointless box-ticking exercises for someone else to fulfil their own PM targets that added absolutely nothing of value though prevented useful things from happening.

    The last half term of the year when I lost my yr.11 and 13 classes and then when yr.10 went on work experience was a time I would trial new things for the next year, improve boring lessons in the SoW, introduce new practicals etc. but then it all got taken away by the self-important time thieves.

    The last straw in that regard was when one year I took the lead when I didn't have to in a cross-curricula task I had to be involved in, thought I might as well make something significant of it and it all went marvellously well. It was a huge amount of extra work and I used parts of it in other lessons which was always partly the initial intention. The next year it became expected that I would do the same again, not only that but the member of SMT who had co-ordinated it decided that she had done her part and others could do her tasks too. So I informed her I wouldn't be leading it again or spending the time I spent previously (there was a lot of preparation of materials) it was someone else's turn and perhaps some leadership from the front might be useful rather than stepping back seeing as how it was her thing. I suspect the first year it was a PM target and the second year it wasn't for her.

    She wasn't happy, complained to next SMT up, I got asked to explain myself which I did and the whole event limped along as no-one actually stepped up to take the lead. I heard it was quietly dropped when I left.
  5. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Any sort of self-autonomy ended when we spent so much time ticking boxes to prove that we had done what we had been told to do. The chaos set in when we were being micro-managed by too many people, all of whom had different agendas and none of whom communicated with each other. In my last school, I suppose in the perpetual quest for 'better results', the SMT changed exam syllabuses and boards every year, meaning that SoWs had to be re-written continually and new resources prepared.
    Mangleworzle likes this.
  6. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Not quite so bad, but we played the "BTEC hokey cokey" in my subject. In-out-in-out, fortunately I managed to avoid getting involved with it, but it was first brought in at very short notice one September for groups that had already started on another course, you can imagine the work required by those who taught it to get it up and running. Then a year or two later it was dropped at equally short notice and those groups who were down to do it did the normal GCSE instead, then a year later, back in again. All to try and massage the results, nothing to do with education at all.

    I think ultimately it was being told what to do by idiots I had little respect for, and all for reasons to do with show rather than education that made me decide to leave teaching.
    Dragonlady30 and cissy3 like this.
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Not only did I enjoy the autonomy I had at the beginning of my career (as compared to the end), but I'm not sure I'd go into teaching today because of the lack of this.
    indusant, cissy3 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  8. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I worked for one of these too, @lizziescat . I worked for an experienced Head who specialised in getting schools out of special measures. Contrary to much of what we hear today, he did this with encouragement and good humour - this was some 15 years ago.

    He used to actively encourage leaders and teachers to think laterally around difficulties. The school had been in SM for quite some time and suffered from the usual problesm of difficulty with recruitment and retention of staff. He used to be open to new initiatives and gave the autonomy to make it work, his mantra being that there was little anyone could do to a school in SM which could possibly make it worse.

    I learned more about transformational change and developing staff in that post than in any other. Despite being in SM, it was a happy school - and it came out of SM two terms after he joined it and a term after I did.
  9. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    The thing that prompted the question in the thread title was the thread about Saturdays being the best day of the week. It set me wondering about other times in my life when I might have longed for Saturday to come, but then I remembered that when I started my first business, I worked most Saturdays and often Sundays too. Not because I had to, but because I enjoyed being my own boss and doing whatever I chose to. Sometimes I would be earning money, other times doing things that would make my life easier.

    The thing I think a lot of managers get wrong is in trying to tell professionals how to do the jobs people have been trained to. Managing people should be about facilitating the opportunities for workers to bring the best out of themselves. They are far more likely to do so when they are happy in their work and feel valued.
    Scintillant and cissy3 like this.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I never excelled at taking orders. In my day they just put you in front of a class (primary) and left you to it. Suited me down to the ground.

    The day in January 2013 that my line-manager (first time in over 30 years) said I should run things past her? I resigned next day. Arrogant? How dare you question my professionalism? I suppose so.

    But I just assume that everyone works better in an atmosphere of trust. You should assume the best. If there's a problem you will know about it but it alienates good people.
    Dragonlady30 and cissy3 like this.
  11. FritzGrade

    FritzGrade Senior commenter

    FIFO always applies.
  12. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    In terms of motivation and work ethic related to working conditions etc, here's what the evidence says:

    indusant likes this.
  13. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    I found that being micromanaged not only was incredibly frustrating, but gave me the false belief that I was actually terrible at time managment and had very little motivation and needed my hand holding all the time. It's only since I've been self-employed, and now on this Uni course, that I'm finding that it isn't the case at all. I think micromanagement undermines your own confidence in your abilities, and if you allow yourself to start constantly checking your work against someone else's expectations, it actively holds you back and causes you to be a less productive, less confident, less competent worker.
  14. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    You don't think anyone is going to actually answer that question do you Duke?!!
  15. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Why wouldn't they? Several posters have told us they left teaching because they were sick of the way schools are now managed and now do their own thing. Isn't that having the confidence to manage themselves and being paid on results?

    I wasn't suggesting that leaving teaching, or any other job for that matter, is the only way this can be achieved. I've never been micromanaged, although some tried it on. I made it clear they were wasting their time and mine as well. I think they understood that if they tried it on again, I'd be off, so they let me do things the way I knew best.
  16. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Because this is TES. You must MAKE them.
  17. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    I'm not going to even think about micromanaging posters' replies.
  18. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    But it's such fun!
  19. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    My work ethic wouldn't change, nor has it since I moved to a job where I have autonomy and am trusted to get on with it. However my decision about whether to stay in teaching or leave might have been a different one.
  20. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    This does highlight the complete enigma of a government controlled curriculum and observation procedure. I mean, if you are going to take away my ability to teach what I feel is best and how I feel best, replacing it with your dictates and then observing me to make sure I do as told - then at least give me the lesson plans to boot so I can become a boring clone but enjoy the time saved in preparation.

    Of course, the worry is once it is all clear and easy (if mind blowingly boring) then it will not be possible to keep telling teachers they are doing the wrong thing or justify OFSTED's existence.
    grumpydogwoman and cissy3 like this.

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