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Staff not respecting my position

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by spencerjay, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. spencerjay

    spencerjay New commenter

    Hi everyone, I hope someone can help. I am a Phase 1 leader in a large inner city school. I came into teaching late and many staff in my phase have been teaching much longer than I have. Historically staff have gone over me and directly to the head/deputy. These have accommodated their wishes and let me know only as a fate-accompli. Now I'm not suggesting that they run everything past me, but there are some things that as Phase Leader I should be left to lead/make decisions on. I have challenged the Head and deputy before who both agreed that this should not happen, and that the staff had caught them 'off guard'. There is now a new member of staff in the phase who is very vivacious, fun and who has also previously been a phase leader/SLT member at another school, but gave up that responsibility to work part time. He is now going directly to head/deputy and giving them information, seeking approval, arranging things etc and completely by-passing me. My question is how do I resolve this and get them to discuss things with me first (the things I can help with any way) without sounding whiny or too obsessive? Or am I being obsessive? I take the whole career/responsibility very seriously (too seriously?) and know that I have very high expectations of both myself and my phase. I am beginning to feel completely undermined and wonder if I'm cut out to be a Phase Leader at all?
  2. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Is it clear who you are and what your role is? I ask this having found out who was in charge of tutor groups at my level only 6 years after joining the school... The whole hierarchy can actually just be an untangleable muddle in the minds of staff, and it can also seem irrelevant. If one particular person has been approachable and helpful in the past, who cares what their actual position is. There is often so many options of who to approach, if their current procedure is working for them, why would your staff change it? It does sound a bit like you want to be needed more than you actually are.
    spencerjay likes this.
  3. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    To be frank, it would seem that some of your colleagues aren't taking you or your position very seriously and your SLT are colluding in this by taking note of other members of staff going straight to them and bypassing you. It is for your SLT to tell staff straight to refer things to you for consideration.
  4. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    I don't bother about it. Life is too short.

    We have a couple of staff playing the politics game, who seem to take delight in going above each others' heads and undermining each other, organising stuff with SLT to earn brownie points. It's pathetic really.

    I'm supposed to be English coordinator (didn't want to, was just told to do it) If someone goes and organises a Roald Dahl day and arranges it with the head without asking me, do I care? Nope!

    As long as my kids are learning and I'm being paid my worth, I tend to leave things there. But then again, I don't want to be a leader, a manager or a headteacher, not now, not ever. Couldn't think of a worse job! I do recognise that for some people, that is the agenda.
    bevdex, drek, ValentinoRossi and 5 others like this.
  5. install

    install Star commenter

    You cannot stop people going to the Head and Deputy. If you are a team manager start producing weekly bulletins praising the good work going on and showing what a great group you are.

    This will communicate clearly the positive vibe that you and your team can have.
  6. spencerjay

    spencerjay New commenter

    Thanks for the replies. The more I reflect on this the more I realise that the head does not support me or my decisions - they will do anything for an easy life and they tend to agree with he who shouts loudest or last. Not sure how I deal with that one either.. Ho Hum!
    install likes this.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Can you sit down with the head and deputy and make a list of things that are your sole responsibility and get their agreement that they will always refer people to you for those things? Then anything else, whoever is asked first gets to decide on.

    You will need a create a team, you clearly don't have one now, and establish yourself as the leader. Can you ask your head about leadership training?

    It could just be habit that they go to the head and deputy or it could be that they don't feel able to come to you. Either way, it is down you to show you are someone to go to.

    We have two deputies. Once I would go to for anything at all, the other I generally avoid where possible. It's partly personality and partly the respect I have or don't have for either one. You need to show yourself to be someone people can rely on.
    install and spencerjay like this.
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    Then build your team - use their energy in a positive way. Everyone loves being noticed and you need to show how impressed you are with them and any ideas they have. So shout about them in a good way..they are not a threat.

    Be positive ..
    they will love it.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
    phlogiston and grumpydogwoman like this.
  9. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    I am not completely sure about your 'set-up' to advise, for example... you are Phase 1 Leader (is that Y7 and 8 Leader?) and the newer member of staff is part-time and your assistant?

    Important to your cause: 1))What is the school's referral policy/ there must be some kind of recorded information that staff follow, that gives the route or directions of recording/ follow-up etc? (If there isn't one then you and the Phase Leaders need to write it!) Surely there is a method of recording and informing so you are in direct contact with staff and parents?

    2) Your role/ job description - do staff know what is entailed in your job?

    I ask because I was involved in at least three re-structures, involving pastoral, team leaders, departments to faculties etc. Sometimes staff had great difficulty in following where you went to record a problem/ who to go to etc., etc. At one point we were given booklets with the instances and examples and the next steps and we were even given a 'quick-at-a-glance' guide because of the complexity.

    One thing is definite: Any procedures should be followed and staff organising their own resolutions would not have been tolerated by SLT, form teachers might do something and then immediately contact the Year Leader (because they work together?!)

    And, it does not matter if this new person is vivacious and so forth. Procedures are procedures and you are the leader?
    My advice is, at this point - write it all down - who went to who/ date/ why and if you were involved/ informed. Monitor the situation and then go and see you direct LM.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You're a leader in name but you appear to be saying that you are not regarded by your colleagues as such. In short, you are perhaps lacking in the sort of leadership qualities that make colleagues instantly sit up and take notice.

    Frankly this link is a load of waffle but I hope you get my drift. You have the job title but your staff don't have confidence in you? You may need to work on it. Find some tips that you think will be helpful.


    The vivacious, fun person? Yes, a charming personality is indeed an asset and does get you places.
    ValentinoRossi and install like this.
  11. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    I would be careful with this one. My experience of a younger colleague joining and the networking with slt on projects which seemed harmless enough at the time ultimately resulted in me leaving my post. Just document everything in the nicest most polite way. Show bags of enthusiasm in writing for what they are doing but make sure you have a paper trail.
  12. ValentinoRossi

    ValentinoRossi Star commenter

    I agree with GDW on this one.

    In my experience, people respect the PERSON first, the 'position' second.
  13. drek

    drek Star commenter

    Are you sending out enough emails with your job title clearly indicated? Once the staff body recognise your name and job title they will realise who they need to go through. e.g. General reminders of daily tasks that don't actually involve extra work. Our phase leader used to send out reminders about what to do in form time etc...things we already did but they all had his name and title if you get my drift.
    Remind your team of what they need to do if someone goes straight above you e.g. include a thanks to blah blah for organising this trip or event and could form tutors remind students etc etc....Cc your line managers on these.nIn fact go to the person who went above you and ask nicely if any of your team need reminders. By lessening their work load they might be grateful and remember to go through you the next time.
    This could solve two issues
    1) Staff old and new get your role and responsibilities and the line of responsibility so to speak without having to look up some policy or the other.
    2) you are reminding the person who probably out of habit or friendship with a member of SLT who may have once been a peer, who they should have gone through first, without any face to face confrontation. And of course cc your line manager again.
    thistledoo and install like this.
  14. Blue_y

    Blue_y New commenter

    If that's your real name in your username then I would request this post is taken down.

    Whilst I empathise and sympathise with your situation, you've said a few things that your head may not be too pleased with should they find out if that's your real name.

    Good luck.

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