Dealing with Difficult Staff

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    • 00:11

      JO PERRY: Welcome to Tips From the Top with me, Jo Perry.Today I've come to Shap Endowed Church of England PrimarySchool in Cumbria.This is one of the top performing primary schoolsin the county.In this video Lois Whittaker, head teacher,shares her top tips for dealing with those difficult staffmembers.As a manager, you are always going

    • 00:33

      JO PERRY [continued]: to have to deal with problem staff.

    • 00:35

      LOIS WHITTAKER: I do think it's extremelytempting to avoid discussion, avoiding that conversation.But I think you have to be honest, you have to be direct,and you have to start as you mean to go on.

    • 00:47

      JO PERRY: I agree.You've got a responsibility as a manager, haven't you?And if you don't face up to the issue,it's actually going to get worse.

    • 00:56

      LOIS WHITTAKER: Yes, it will just get worse.It really will.I think the thing that everyone hasto remember as a manager, a head teacher,is the children are our number one priority-- they come first,they're the center of everything.And if something's affecting the children, it's up to usto address that issue or that problem.

    • 01:13

      JO PERRY: We all make mistakes, don't we?

    • 01:14

      LOIS WHITTAKER: We do, yeah.

    • 01:15

      JO PERRY: And as a manager, you'vegot to be prepared to hold your hands upwhen you make mistakes.

    • 01:22

      LOIS WHITTAKER: I totally agree.I think you have to open up to mistakes.You have to be quick to apologize or to explain,and also have a culture where a mistake canbe seen as an opportunity to build and to learn from itand to move on.

    • 01:35

      JO PERRY: And talking about those conversations, whenit's got sticky, what would be the advice you'dgive to people about having those difficult conversations?

    • 01:46

      LOIS WHITTAKER: I think it's important rightfrom the beginning to make it clear to the member of staffthat you are going to take notes.You do need to have some evidence of any conversationthat's taken place.And you then need to have some formal system in the school.Obviously, you'd have a school policythat has something to do with this, I would hope,where those notes can be taken and kept and used.

    • 02:08

      LOIS WHITTAKER [continued]: And then we can move on to setting targetswith that member of staff and how to change the situationor improve practice.

    • 02:14

      JO PERRY: You are so right.People need to protect themselvesby having the right documentation.

    • 02:18

      LOIS WHITTAKER: They do.You must be careful that right from that first conversationyou're following correct procedures.

    • 02:25

      JO PERRY: If you deal with it promptly, and you said,you can be bring the situation to a really positive end.

    • 02:31


    • 02:32

      JO PERRY: And I think the lovely thingfrom that was let our mistakes be our opportunities,and maybe we should teach our children that as well.

    • 02:39

      LOIS WHITTAKER: I think so.

    • 02:40

      JO PERRY: Definitely.Lois, thank you very much for that.

    • 02:42

      LOIS WHITTAKER: Thank you.

    • 02:49

      JO PERRY: Bad behavior and inappropriate behavior at work,if left unchecked, will continue and sometimes grow.So I'm sorry, you're going to have to bite the bulletand you're going to have to deal with this,but maybe these three tips will help.First of all, deal with facts.Gossip and rumor are really, really dangerous,

    • 03:09

      JO PERRY [continued]: and can leave you looking very foolish if you haven'tgot your facts straight.So do the legwork.Make sure that you have your statementsfrom a variety of people that you can work from.And then when you do talk to the person,please do it in a professional way.Do it in a private environment.And you might look to bring another member of staff

    • 03:31

      JO PERRY [continued]: in if you think it's going to be a difficult meeting,but do it in a way that's non-confrontational.And I suppose that leads me to my second point.When you are talking with the person,make sure you highlight the positive.Don't focus on the negative.So instead of saying, I'm fed up with you arrivingat work half an hour late every day,

    • 03:51

      JO PERRY [continued]: instead you might say that, our team,we like to know that everybody is in work by 8:30,and that's how we behave around here.That way you put it in a more positive way and you'renot pointing fingers.And finally, don't expect overnight miracles.This is going to take time.

    • 04:13

      JO PERRY [continued]: So once you've come up with a resolution,just have in the back of your mindthat a leopard isn't going to change its spots overnight,and that this is not going to be a quick fix.So I hope that really helps.

Dealing with Difficult Staff

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Jo Perry discusses school staff management policies and practices with headteacher Lois Whittaker.

Dealing with Difficult Staff

Jo Perry discusses school staff management policies and practices with headteacher Lois Whittaker.

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