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Problems with subordinate

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by ictLad, May 20, 2011.

  1. ictLad

    ictLad New commenter

    Hi, I am hoping someone might be able to give me some advice on my subordinate. I am finding her incredibly lazy, unenthusiastic, back stabbing and now most recently demonstrating poor communication skills. Now I am not going to lie she is not my kind of person and to an extent we don't get on, though things are kept amicable.
    These are my main concerns:-
    1) She is slow to do work, sometimes despite promising me she will do something it remains incomplete for weeks and I'm confident that the time scales I give her are more than reasonable.
    2) She has no drive to push our dept forward, leaves work as soon as she can
    3) Fairly sure to an extent she slacking in lessons, have caught her on a few occasions looking at the BBC sport page during a lesson
    4) I put her in charge of the yr7 curriculum which parents paid an amount for to register pupils with the bcs, we arranged for the qualification to be delivered over 2 years and in this time needed to deliver 4 modules.
    Despite in numerous meetings her telling me it was working well and everything was running smoothly I found out today that she (and another member of staff involved in delivering the award) had only managed to deliver one module in six months. When parents have paid for the award and next year the pupils have less time than this year in my subject its going to be hard to complete the award in time.
    Now I have been to my SMT and all they said was to keep records about everything. Thats it. Im hoping someone on this board with a little bit more experience in this area might be able to give me some pointers on where to move next on this, I posted on the SMT board as I was hoping there might be a wider range of experience from regular uses of this board. Many thanks in advance
  2. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    I think your biggest problem is that you refer to a member of your team as "subordinate".
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Indeed - this is the first time I've heard the term used since I trained as a teacher in 1981.
  4. ictLad

    ictLad New commenter

    OK fine my choice of words could have been a more thoughtful, I honestly had no idea that calling someone a subordinate was a problem (in fact now I have looked up the definition perhaps a better word should/could have been used). I dont want anyone on here to get the idea that I am some old school manager with stupid out of date ideals, I am not. I am fairly new the teaching as a whole (four years) and even newer to being a HoD (1 and a bit).
    I now appreciate my use of the word subordinate to describe someone whom I manage may have been inappropriate. However I would still like some guidance from people with experience in this arena as my SMT are being a bit hazy about what to do, and my poor choice of words aside I do still think (based on my description of my problems with her) that she is an ineffectual member of the department.
  5. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    The previous 2 posters both appear very experienced in their roles from the valuable advice they often give. Reading between the lines they clearly are not just ignoring your question because you used the wrong word - more, in my opinion, implying that perhaps your attitude as evidenced by your awful choice of words and the fact you've chosen to tell us she's not your type of person, that you might be part of the problem.
    Had you come to me with this catalogue of accusations I'd have wondered why I had to ask you to document things because surely you must have done that already to have such a completly certain view that this person is so worthless.
    When someone you line manage doesn't work as well as they might surely some of that responsibility must be yours if you've set targets, monitored progress, offered training and support.
  6. ictLad

    ictLad New commenter

    R13, I feel the need to respond to your post as it has rankled me somewhat
    Firstly - awful choice of words? Perhaps I did not make myself clear in my second post, I had no idea that the word I chose to use was not considered appropriate, hence me saying so. It has no reflection on my feelings towards her as a member of my department, I do not consider her to be 'inferior', it was simply a word used to describe the fact that I am her manager.
    Secondly - Do you not think that I havent considered that I might be part of the problem? Why do you think I decided to add in that she is not my kind of person? It was so that people reading my post know my concerns and where I am coming from, I want to make sure that even though we are never going to be friends are my concerns justified. At the end of the day who said that you had to be friends with members of your department? Things are amicable between us. Perhaps I should also mention the fact that she is resentful towards me (she told me this herself) as I got the job as HoD as an outside candidate and she as an internal candidate did not.

    Maybe again I didnt mention that I am a relatively new HoD (school provided no training for me in this role so I have had to 'feel' my way along). I went to my SMT last year and told them I was concerned about her when she started to fail to deliver simple targets on time (creating revision powerpoints for example). They told me then to document things. Went back again recently and got the same response, hence me asking here for advice.

    Yes indeed it is, I never said otherwise, you just assumed so. But I feel I should make you aware that she is head of year (though the amount of work required from our pastoral leaders is small in comparison to other schools I have worked in) and as manager herself (she has been in this type of role far longer than I) would have been able to deal with a lot of the areas which I have become worried about. I monitor her progress continually and have to ask her regularly to make sure she has done the required work, I have offered and sent her on numerous training courses (including two for the year 7 course I feel she has not delievered on), and I have ALWAYS said to her that if there is a problem with anything, she must approach me and we will work something out.
  7. You want some help with dealing with someone who is hard to get through to who also appears lazy I think. You need to log evidence and use performance m cycle. You can call extra meetings if you have concerns within the cycle. Use actual dated incidents and 1st ask if there are any personal reasons, health etc which are temporarily keeping them off task? Do they require specific support or more explanation regarding your expectations/ the expectations of the school/ this post. Give reasonable time frames and reasonable targets before a review meeting. Keep calm and supportive in tone. Make sure you talk your position with your senior colleagues. They are there to guide you. This is good experience. Infuriating though I know!
  8. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Did they force you to apply for it, then? Clearly you felt you were capable of taking on a management and leadership role. My problem with your OP was (as the other poster has indicated) that your choice of words did speak volumes about your attitude for me.
  9. breadmaker

    breadmaker New commenter

    OP - I am shocked that you had to look up the word "subordinate" as presumably you are an educated person to now be leading a department?
    Whilst not trying to turn this into a "get at OP" post, I would suggest that you take a long hard look at yourself as a leader/manager. Going from being a good teacher to being a good leader/manager is massive and it's not now like getting children to do your ideas/bidding etc. Your colleague may well have issues that need dealing with, but you will not improve her performance and ultimately that of the children, if you continue along this "I know better than you "track.
    As a teacher of 20 years, I have been led/managed by many people and have been on SMT myself enough times to know that successful leaders need first to be open and honest with themselves about themselves, so your first step to improving the performance in your dept. may be to see if there are any planks in your own eye. It doesn't matter how many courses you go on/training you get, these will not make any difference to your development unless you start looking inward first and then outward second.
    Leadership is not about applying formulas you have been exposed to, it is about thinking how can I best use that idea to improve our situation for myself and my colleagues and the children in our care. Good luck.
  10. ictLad

    ictLad New commenter

    No they did not force me to apply for it, they did tell me when I enquired about it, that a comprehensive training program as a new hod would be provided, it was not. And did I think I could perform in the role, of course I did, but I was never so cocky that I thought I knew how to do everything and how to handle every situation, no new hod would know how to do that.

    As for my choice of words, make that one word, while I now understand that the word may be a poor choice, if you choose to judge me based upon a misunderstanding i held for one word then thank god you are not my line manager, your choice of words speak volumes about you, that you rush to judgement and that you are incapable of appreciating that someone's misunderstanding of a word does NOT reflect their overall attitude towards another member of the department.
  11. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    That's an interesting comment, given your use of words in your original post: " I am finding her incredibly lazy, unenthusiastic, back stabbing and now most recently demonstrating poor communication skills."
    In fact, I judged you on these words as well. I wouldn't have appointed someone so inexperienced and clearly lacking in interpersonal skills, as it happens.
  12. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    I'm personally more than a little shocked that a secondary HOD had to look up subordinate!
    I believe subordinate clauses are taught in y4 so most young primary children would have understanding of the word.

    It wasn't just the word though ( although it spoke volumes) it was the whole tone of your op, and your subsequent posts remind me of my 2 year old throwing her teddy out if the pram.

    Let me guess, you thought that when you became HOD they gave you a magic potion that would make everyone do your bidding and look up to you?

    I think you need to have a look at your own attitude and think long and hard about how you can support your colleage to be the best she can be. That is, after all your job, and why you are no doubt paid a higher salary than her.
  13. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    If anyone can locate my stray u and put it into colleague I'd appreciate it, thanks!
  14. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I saw masha with it!
  15. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    [​IMG] I should've known.
    or maybe aye shudda nown
  16. ictLad

    ictLad New commenter

    Hmm, now I see what you are getting at. When I said I found her to be 'lazy, unenthusiastuc ......', the reasons I gave were not made up, they are what has happened. She is late with things, would you consider two weeks to create two powerpoints on some short revision topics appropriate, especially when she has 4 free periods more than last year due to changes in the allocated time for ICT? I do, and being late with that worries me. Especially when it has happened repeatedly. Would you consider sitting at your desk looking at the BBC website when you have a class in that room appropriate?
    Do i find her unethusiastic? Yes I do, someone who baulks at the idea of homework being introduced to a year group when we are the only dept that does not give that year group homework does not fully appreciate how important the image of a subject is in obtaining students at GCSE and A Level?
    Back stabbing? Someone who slates me to other members of staff because of my teaching style (which I should add has been repeatedly deemed excellent) is not exactly what I would call trustworthy.
    As for being inexperienced, well until you encounter a situation then you are inexperienced are you not? I have never had a member of staff quite like her, and I have had 2 supervisory positions in my previous school. So yes to an extent I am inexperienced (hence me going to my SMT and asking for help here). And as for lacking in interpersonal skills, I would like to think that as a popular member of my common room Im not completely lacking in that arena, oh and please dont judge me about this when you dont know me, fine I may have rankled people on here with my choice of words but you have made a scathing sweeping statement based upon no more that someone who could have made better use of the English language.
    Have you ever considered that maybe my school hired me because they saw potential in me? Maybe part of that is my judgement in what is best for the department, and maybe what I see in my dept member worries me for good reason. All I was after from posting here was a little advice on what was might be the best thing to do, OK as I have said I have considered that I might be the problem, but what if I am not, thats the advice I was after the lack of ideas from my SMT.
  17. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Is this the teacher you posted about on the Heads of Department board in July last year?

  18. You sure about that? There are a couple of idle, back stabbers who might disagree.
  19. Have you stopped to consider that maybe the tasks you are asking her to do are too simple. Making a couple of ppts is hardly going to keep someone challenged and motivated. You need to find something they value and want to do.
  20. Subordinate?
    Are you ex Army?
    Do you prefer someone who works steadily or someone who does bllsht bingo and says oh, I did 4 modules and actually done it superficially? Are you single/most likely divorced didn't understand why and get to work at 6.10 every morning perchance?

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