So, you’re the boss. What would you do?

Basically, I’m fed up with my assistant head of dept constantly interfering with dept policy and the passive aggressive comments being made to undermine me. There’s two other subject leads that prefer to follow his line of reasoning too.

Some of the criticism I receive is fair. It’s not been a stellar year: the health scare in October/November, my mum having vast chunks of time in hospital, Mrs GTi’s work issues, and covid to name but 4 things have all had an impact. Work-wise, cover has been mental, not least the10 days when all three of them were off with covid so I was covering everything. But quite a bit of the stuff that goes on is clearly jockeying for position.

I’m thinking that I have a meeting, possibly with my line manager present, with the three of them. Start off by acknowledging my faults and what needs to be done to improve, but then basically laying down the law about how I expect them to fully support the sims/vision of the department and holding them to account for the crappy things that are going on.

Ultimately, something has to change as I’m fecking miserable. So what is the hive wisdom?
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Comments

  • beansnikpoh
    beansnikpoh Posts: 1,533
    Move if you can. A job is a job. I know you teach, so you feel loyalty to the kids. This is the best candidate's market ever in my industry. I had a senior manager position advertised for 8 weeks. I had 4 CV's, where I might have expected 40. 2 pulled out the day before interview because they got jobs. I interviewed 2. One was gorgeous, but I may as well have been speaking Attic Greek, considering how she understood me. I offered the other,who accepted, and who I think will do a great job. I only have 2 more positions to fill. Currently spending £££ on secondees.
  • johngti
    johngti Posts: 2,508

    Move if you can. A job is a job. I know you teach, so you feel loyalty to the kids. This is the best candidate's market ever in my industry. I had a senior manager position advertised for 8 weeks. I had 4 CV's, where I might have expected 40. 2 pulled out the day before interview because they got jobs. I interviewed 2. One was gorgeous, but I may as well have been speaking Attic Greek, considering how she understood me. I offered the other,who accepted, and who I think will do a great job. I only have 2 more positions to fill. Currently spending £££ on secondees.

    Do you want an ex-teacher for the role? 😉
  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,214
    johngti said:

    Move if you can. A job is a job. I know you teach, so you feel loyalty to the kids. This is the best candidate's market ever in my industry. I had a senior manager position advertised for 8 weeks. I had 4 CV's, where I might have expected 40. 2 pulled out the day before interview because they got jobs. I interviewed 2. One was gorgeous, but I may as well have been speaking Attic Greek, considering how she understood me. I offered the other,who accepted, and who I think will do a great job. I only have 2 more positions to fill. Currently spending £££ on secondees.

    Do you want an ex-teacher for the role? 😉
    Or an ex-engineer? ;)
  • orraloon
    orraloon Posts: 12,879
    I see you are a teacher and not a corporate hamster-wheeler. But. It may parallel.

    Tell 'em to FRO. Go contract. The best times I enjoyed in corporate land was as a contractor. You want me to do X, I do X, you pay me Y. End of. Fxxx all the organisational politicking, infighting and BS. Not interested, not my problem.

    You of course may have differing drivers.
  • MattFalle
    MattFalle Posts: 11,644
    Arrange prior meeting - your boss, HR, make sure its all done exactly by the book.

    Prepare a case - when, where, how, witnesses.

    Present case on each individual to HR and boss, get their opinion, make sure your back is covered.

    Independant meetings with each, you lay down the law. HR and boss in attendance at each, never ever do anything without a witness.

    PEPs to all of them or if they fon't like it, they can FRO - you're the boss.

    Don't admit you're to anything - thats ammunition for them.

    Make sure you follow org policy at every step.

    If no support from boss or it doesn't get any better, shift on - you're too noce and life is too short to put up with merde.
    .
    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,174
    orraloon said:

    I see you are a teacher and not a corporate hamster-wheeler. But. It may parallel.

    Tell 'em to FRO. Go contract. The best times I enjoyed in corporate land was as a contractor. You want me to do X, I do X, you pay me Y. End of. Fxxx all the organisational politicking, infighting and BS. Not interested, not my problem.

    You of course may have differing drivers.

    Not sure that advice will be helpful in teacher land but I wholeheartedly agree.
    Best part about my working life is not giving 2 stuffs about office politics.
    Do the work, get paid, go home. End of.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,786
    Agree don't admit fault, don't admit weakness, don't admit you've not been at your best.

    I'm afraid I can't really advise on tactics but at the moment you have the element of surprise - so don't give that up needlessly - you don't have to run whatever you are going to do past the assistant first.

    It does sound like a lot of bullS hit - you are there for the kids not for this kind of politics - so long as you are putting a reasonable amount into the job (and what's reasonable has to take account of personal circumstances) you don't owe these ****s anything so don't let the barstewards grind you down. To an extent sometimes we just have to let things flow over us and say F it because otherwise the stress would impact our health.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 59,370
    Sack the assistant head and tell the other two they're next if they don't do as they're told. What's that phrase from the French revolution when they guillotined people to set an example? 'Pour encourager les autres'. If you can, that is.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • beansnikpoh
    beansnikpoh Posts: 1,533
    orraloon said:

    I see you are a teacher and not a corporate hamster-wheeler. But. It may parallel.

    Tell 'em to FRO. Go contract. The best times I enjoyed in corporate land was as a contractor. You want me to do X, I do X, you pay me Y. End of. Fxxx all the organisational politicking, infighting and BS. Not interested, not my problem.

    You of course may have differing drivers.

    I am seriously thinking of contracting. Or going into a second or third round of funding start up.

    Or losing all hope and staying 15 more years here.
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 15,173
    You in one of the unions? I'm of the MF way of thinking, more or less. I think diving straight in with HR might be ott, but you might want to be primed with a few HR buzz words and phrases, and a rough script or checklist so you say what you what and don't say what you shouldn't.

    A natter with a union rep could help you get your bearings. They won't be much practical use, mind, if Mrs Aspect's experience is anything to by.
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 59,370

    orraloon said:

    I see you are a teacher and not a corporate hamster-wheeler. But. It may parallel.

    Tell 'em to FRO. Go contract. The best times I enjoyed in corporate land was as a contractor. You want me to do X, I do X, you pay me Y. End of. Fxxx all the organisational politicking, infighting and BS. Not interested, not my problem.

    You of course may have differing drivers.

    I am seriously thinking of contracting. Or going into a second or third round of funding start up.

    Or losing all hope and staying 15 more years here.
    What happened with that Fintech opportunity B3?
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • beansnikpoh
    beansnikpoh Posts: 1,533
    Stevo_666 said:

    orraloon said:

    I see you are a teacher and not a corporate hamster-wheeler. But. It may parallel.

    Tell 'em to FRO. Go contract. The best times I enjoyed in corporate land was as a contractor. You want me to do X, I do X, you pay me Y. End of. Fxxx all the organisational politicking, infighting and BS. Not interested, not my problem.

    You of course may have differing drivers.

    I am seriously thinking of contracting. Or going into a second or third round of funding start up.

    Or losing all hope and staying 15 more years here.
    What happened with that Fintech opportunity B3?
    Was down to last 2. They went with the person recommended by their current tax advisor. Looking back, no loss really.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,620
    Stevo_666 said:

    Sack the assistant head and tell the other two they're next if they don't do as they're told. What's that phrase from the French revolution when they guillotined people to set an example? 'Pour encourager les autres'. If you can, that is.

    Bahahahahaa this one made me smile this morning
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,620
    Is it possibly to persuade the deputy that they’re brilliant at all the stuff you’re pants at so they go and do it, and then for you to take credit for being a wonderful manager?

    And with the undermining stuff take a lead out of Stevo’s book and get tough. Carrot and stick, so to speak.
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 59,370

    Stevo_666 said:

    orraloon said:

    I see you are a teacher and not a corporate hamster-wheeler. But. It may parallel.

    Tell 'em to FRO. Go contract. The best times I enjoyed in corporate land was as a contractor. You want me to do X, I do X, you pay me Y. End of. Fxxx all the organisational politicking, infighting and BS. Not interested, not my problem.

    You of course may have differing drivers.

    I am seriously thinking of contracting. Or going into a second or third round of funding start up.

    Or losing all hope and staying 15 more years here.
    What happened with that Fintech opportunity B3?
    Was down to last 2. They went with the person recommended by their current tax advisor. Looking back, no loss really.
    Fair enough. Sometimes it's worth having a sniff around just to check. No rush anyway.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 59,370

    Stevo_666 said:

    Sack the assistant head and tell the other two they're next if they don't do as they're told. What's that phrase from the French revolution when they guillotined people to set an example? 'Pour encourager les autres'. If you can, that is.

    Bahahahahaa this one made me smile this morning
    I like to spread joy wherever I go :smile: Probably saying what JGTI would like to do


    rather than what's possible...
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • tlw1
    tlw1 Posts: 21,927
    Stevo_666 said:

    Sack the assistant head and tell the other two they're next if they don't do as they're told. What's that phrase from the French revolution when they guillotined people to set an example? 'Pour encourager les autres'. If you can, that is.

    This or fight them behind the bike sheds

    Seriously find a reason to give them a warning, letting them know you know what they are up to
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,620
    If self preservation is the name of the game Stevo is probably right.

    Though suspect there is an middle ground.

    It is tougher when your own performance isn’t great - that is the ultimate platform.
  • me-109
    me-109 Posts: 1,915
    If all 3 think the same then maybe you are in the wrong? Whatever the issue is, can you find a policy/process line to stand behind that clearly shows one approach is wrong? If it is not clear and is open to interpretation then neither side is wrong as long as the right outcome is achieved.
    Careful going down a formal route with all parties together as that could backfire. Note also that in a group setting you may find silent parties that don't or won't speak up, or commit 'group think' where the members follow the first or strongest opinion and discount others or don't raise alternatives.
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,739
    MattFalle said:

    Arrange prior meeting - your boss, HR, make sure its all done exactly by the book.

    Prepare a case - when, where, how, witnesses.

    Present case on each individual to HR and boss, get their opinion, make sure your back is covered.

    Independant meetings with each, you lay down the law. HR and boss in attendance at each, never ever do anything without a witness.

    PEPs to all of them or if they fon't like it, they can FRO - you're the boss.

    Don't admit you're to anything - thats ammunition for them.

    Make sure you follow org policy at every step.

    If no support from boss or it doesn't get any better, shift on - you're too noce and life is too short to put up with censored .

    ^^^this
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 59,370
    tlw1 said:

    Stevo_666 said:

    Sack the assistant head and tell the other two they're next if they don't do as they're told. What's that phrase from the French revolution when they guillotined people to set an example? 'Pour encourager les autres'. If you can, that is.

    This or fight them behind the bike sheds

    Good point, this is teecherz and skool we're talking about.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,620
    My experience of HR seems markedly different to other people’s.

    Honest question, why would HR give a single sh!t about this?
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,739

    My experience of HR seems markedly different to other people’s.

    Honest question, why would HR give a single sh!t about this?

    ideally because it's the right thing to do, aversion to being sued/taken to tribunal can also be a factor

    sounds like it's become a hostile workplace for jgti, hr has a responsibility to help resolve that, through the disciplinary process if necessary
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,620
    edited May 2022
    This all just sounds like headache that they don’t want. Surely they’ll just say work it out yourselves and if it gets worse sack the most annoying?

    People are incentivised for low grief good performance employees.
  • MattFalle
    MattFalle Posts: 11,644

    My experience of HR seems markedly different to other people’s.

    Honest question, why would HR give a single sh!t about this?

    Because its their job Richard.
    .
    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • johngti
    johngti Posts: 2,508
    me-109 said:

    If all 3 think the same then maybe you are in the wrong? Whatever the issue is, can you find a policy/process line to stand behind that clearly shows one approach is wrong? If it is not clear and is open to interpretation then neither side is wrong as long as the right outcome is achieved.
    Careful going down a formal route with all parties together as that could backfire. Note also that in a group setting you may find silent parties that don't or won't speak up, or commit 'group think' where the members follow the first or strongest opinion and discount others or don't raise alternatives.

    I know that my own performance hasn’t been stellar this year for all of the reasons given initially. The other issue is that education is very different to other professions in that, from day one, we’re expected to be reflective and pick holes in what we do, backed up by the ridiculous accountability systems in education. I don’t really have any option but to acknowledge my own failings without looking for what will be see to be excuses beyond “you all know I’ve had a difficult year yet this is how you’ve supported me? Nice”.

    Oh, and the other other issue is that two of the three are doing a good job of running their own responsibilities so I can’t get them on that. The third is new to it and developing but is doing OK. Whatever, my approach hasn’t been to micromanage and dictate what I expect in terms of presentation and organisation, I’ve given them space and encouragement to plan things the way they want them while having their backs and praising their work at every opportunity. There is no way that this is reciprocated - I know that not one of them will have a good word to say about me already.

    And I guess the final issue is that replacing any of them will be almost impossible. Certain internally if any of them say “stick your extra responsibility pay, I’ll go back to class teaching only”. And they all know that.

    But the approach picked by my assistant is absolutely creating a hostile workplace from my point of view so I have to do something. I’m going to discuss it with my Deputy head line manager and HR before doing anything because I need to know I have their support. I suspect they will offer their unconditional support based on what I know is the school perception of me and where I’ve brought the department.

    Ultimately, I know I have to leave but that’s a hard place to find myself. I love teaching there and it’s stupidly convenient in terms of a 10 minute walk in the morning.

    Either that or I quietly disappear off the face of the planet.
  • johngti
    johngti Posts: 2,508

    This all just sounds like headache that they don’t want. Surely they’ll just say work it out yourselves and if it gets worse sack the most annoying?

    People are incentivised for low grief good performance employees.

    Blimey, that’s a bit of a shitattitude. HR say my place is certainly not like that and I wouldn’t work somewhere where it is. I think she’ll be on my side as much as possible while being neutral.
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,739

    This all just sounds like headache that they don’t want. Surely they’ll just say work it out yourselves and if it gets worse sack the most annoying?

    People are incentivised for low grief good performance employees.

    still need hr to sack them, earlier they are involved, the sooner that point will be reached

    personally i'd focus on nailing the ringleader, keep it simple

    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • wilberforce
    wilberforce Posts: 302
    Don't admit to weakness as that will encourage them to think they are right even more.
    From what you have said it does not look like a HR issue, unless you are going to give one or more of them a warning, or put them on a PIP for poor performance.
    By all means explain situation to your line manager and seek guidance, but have you involved the three in the policy process?. The final policy decision is always yours as the leader but discussing policy etc with them and explaining the reason behind any decisions may improve their support and get them on board.

    If that fails, do any one of the above which you prefer
  • MattFalle
    MattFalle Posts: 11,644
    Tbh, any of the above ot just pay the local Fat Les £50 to repeatedly kickthelivingfuck out of them until they get the hint and leave the area.

    Go all Provo and burn their houses down.

    Alts, I could send a MF round to sleep with their wives and you can pin pictures of the wives inflegrante delicto (Rick: that means in the middle of intercourse) up in the staff room.
    .
    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.