Management and Leadership
For this report I will describe how Effective Communication is key within management. Effective communication between a manager and team is important as a manager’s job is 90% communication. Effective communication is really important within a team as it plays a part in the everyday running of a setting; effective communication helps to establish clear expectations for employees and with parents.
Effective communication also gives staff members clear expectations which will convey how their performance will impact the setting, for example when a manager is briefing a team they need to be prepared, be clear, they should keep it simple and be vivid and natural. Effective communication helps managers build strong relationships within the team and parents. Effective organizational communication skills will help with team work and the ability for the employees at all levels to work together to achieve goals within the setting and also to help to achieve company goals, Effective communication is essential to the success of any organization.
There are various skills needed for good management, some skills are learned others are instilled as part of that’s persons nature; employees respond more enthusiastically to a leader they feel confident in. On a more basic level an effective manager in an early years setting needs to ensure good lines of communication are open between themselves and the members of their team, is capable of creating an atmosphere that is comfortable, i. e. a family atmosphere’ builds trust in the team, maintains confidentiality, represent the views of the team, find out what motivates the team and be supportive. An effective manager in an early years setting also needs to be approachable, involve staff so they can arrive at joint decisions in the welfare of the children in their care, delegate tasks to staff and allow them to decide how to achieve them which in turn will give the team members a feeling of empowerment, enabling them to set their own objectives and achieve them.
Teamwork within any setting is paramount; within in my own setting I find that communication is key , myself and the manager will meet and discuss the team on a daily basis as each member of staff are at different development stages within the setting. As a deputy manager my ability to manage the team to achieve organisational goals and objectives is analysed by being reflective as a manager as well as being supportive of the individuals, I consider myself to be a positive role model in encouraging the individuals of my team to continue their professional evelopment in a bid to keep them motivated and keep their knowledge up to date. As I myself continually embark on further education this in turn gives my team the incentive to do so themselves. Everyone in my setting is undertaking some form of professional development for example level 2’s are training towards level 3 and level 3’s towards a degree. As stated by June Sullivan (2003) ‘it is important for a manger to develop a trusting relationship with all members of the team.
Successful teams will thrive on mutual trust, so it is vital to establish this early on by delegation, open conduct and communication and a free exchange of ideas’ page 11 Developing individuals as well as the team is an important fact to consider as the setting achieves effectiveness with the individuals that are part of a team where the setting is aware of the individual’s different learning styles and personalities.
The team is empowered to effectively manage quality in our setting to meet the children’s and their family needs which is ultimately the settings goals and objectives. This is done through giving the team responsibility for certain aspects of the day to day running of the setting for example each member of the team has a specific area within the setting which they own and develop and each team member is a key person for a number of individual children which gives them the opportunity to develop relationships with children and their families children to meet their needs.
Teamwork is also essential within in the setting as we have children that have different level of needs these needs range from speech and language, dietary requirements and we also meet with external agencies to help families that need extra support. Finding out what motivates the team is a useful tool to acquire a manger needs to beware of what makes individual staff members tick.
The opportunities for on-going training of themselves and staff is also a motivator if the team members see the manager embarking on professional development this in turn will encourage and enthuse the individuals to embark on future professional development for themselves. A good manager and leader willin still their own values within the team and introduce newcomers to these values, however a manager should be open to new and innovated ideas that a new team member could bring into the setting.
Everyone should be encouraged to participate in contributing their ideas, values and opinions within staff meetings and informal discussions to ensure the element of management power is removed, which in turn will make parents feel comfortable about their children’s welfare as good lines of communication will open from all angles.
The difference between a leader and a manager is defined in the following text ‘managers do things right’ whilst leaders do the right thing’ there is a fine line between the kind of approach that is necessary in an early years environment and in my opinion, leadership is the approach we need to adopt as managers in an early years setting as managers require the co-operation of their team members.
Leadership involves getting the best out of people and remembering everyone has something to offer, strong leaders should be in a position of inspiring people, building confidence and supporting colleagues to achieve their full potential. Managers should also be aware that’s individuals have different learning styles; cognitive psychologist Howard Gardner (1985) identified seven styles of learning which apply to adults as well as children, the main ways in which we learn as individuals are visually, kinesthetically and through auditory means.
Leadership in an a early years setting requires the manager to have personal qualities such as being kind, warm and friendly, patient, sympathetic and nurturing, knowledgeable, logical and assertive and be prepared to become a mentor who guides the staff. There is clear evidence of the relationship between how staff are managed and how they perform, the deeper the commitment of the staff to their organisations, the better their performance will be, it is essential that a manger leads by example. The manager must be able to build and lead the team and cope with the day to day management issues.
The manager must also act as the public face of the nursery (Jameson and Watson, 1988) Team development requires both strong leadership from the manager and commitment from team members; a good team is made up from individuals who are valued, managers need to analyse how they can involve their teams in the process and look and find ways to motivate them, as a manger you need to be open to ideas but should also look at the strengths and weakness off individual team members and what works best for them as each member has different strengths and weakness and as a manger you should work on this with them and get the team involved in helping each other develop by offering support and guidance as it helps to build effective teams.
Also a good relationship with your team will ensure that they form good relationships with the children and their parents and are enthusiastic about new challenges, have confidence to make improvements to the practice when needed. The team is developed with in house training, staff meetings, appraisals to name a few examples, however in my opinion emotional intelligence and communication is key to achieving these goals, by focussing on the needs of the team and giving direction which supports and challenges, we will be developing a culture of openness, mutual respect and honesty within the team working towards achieving the goals and objectives of the setting.
Teams are encouraged in staff meetings to be reflective and build on their reflections, by being reflective they can observe how they could handle situations more effectively to promote even more effective practice and feel empowered as a team because they are making their own decisions alongside each other as well as individually. Developing teams is key to achieving tasks in the workplace and an essential skill for a manager to possess as a manager I endeavour to ensure I have a clear purpose and display a positive image to engage in mutual trust and respect between my team and myself to achieve the settings goals and objectives. Also a level of commitment is important to a team, it is also essential that there is good communication with in the team in order that it can be effective.
The team is aware of their roles and responsibilities and are encouraged to communicate effectively, make decisions, manage change and be reflective in practice and engage in sustained shared thinking within the setting. As a deputy manager my management style is slightly autocratic where I make the decisions myself and I find I take on all the responsibly of trying to do everything myself, I only ask my colleagues to do a task for me when I find I don’t have the time to do it, it has taken me a while to realize that this not good for me or my team and I have decided to change my approach and involve my team more in the decision making and delegating tasks so I hope this will instil a sense of responsibility within the team.
While writing this report I did an exercise set out for based on Belbin team roles inventory where you score yourself and see what type of team worker you are, my highest score was in team worker where it describes that a team worker is sociable, rather mild, sensitive, co-operative. My second highest score was shaper where it describes that a shaper can be highly strung, thrives on pressure and challenging and my third was completer finisher where it describes that a completer finisher is orderly, conscientious and anxious. After doing this task I took time to reflect and I am all of the above and more, I do get anxious and can be highly strung and am rather sensitive, these are things I need to work on when I am leading my team.
I also found that to be an effective manager in an early years setting it requires a leadership style that is collaborative and to be supportive of colleagues. For this report I had to make an action plan for myself to develop my own management skills and how I would action these I took in to account the Belbin task and I reflected on how I manage my team on a day to day basis and how I could work better with my own manager to improve my skills. (See Appendix A) I hope this will be a positive move and am hoping it will make the working environment a better place for all. Being a leader involves getting the best out of people and seeing what strengths that they possess and supporting them in their development needs.