Human Resources

If a specific failing has not been accounted for, the work force may panic. This is the chaos theory. A manager utilizing this method may be somewhat dismayed when members of staff are afraid to adapt to new implementations. It is always a good idea to plan in advance what will happen when things go wrong. If the manager were to cover every eventuality, for example to follow the contingency theory, this would lead to a very organized and trusting workforce.

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It is, however, very time consuming and one person alone may not have the ability to cover this area. Communicating well with staff and establishing a society of continual improvement may help in ensuring that crisis management is alleviated (Green, 2000). In order to run a nursery effectively, it is necessary to hold regular staff appraisals. Indeed, the government has also recognised this and it is now compulsory that all schools administer this procedure (Green, 2000).

The nursery in this instance has frequent meetings involving all the members of staff. The author believes that holding these supervision meetings, gives the manager and the staff members the opportunity to take time out of their busy schedules, giving them an opportunity to reflect upon their work. The members of staff also gain valuable, uninterrupted, consultative time with the supervisor, which the manager uses to show genuine interest in them as both a worker and a team member.

Informing the staff of her expectations and requirements will ensure that when the time of their individual appraisal arrives, each member of staff should be prepared. The manager is able to praise and recognise the achievements of an individual on a personal level and through possible wage increases, or promotions, can demonstrate this recognition by providing a sense of worth (Field et al, 2002). Upon completion of all the separate appraisals, the manager then compiles an agenda of the areas that have appeared on more than one occasion throughout the consultations.

The team then hold a further meeting to address those problems, which can then be discussed at a group level. This leads the manager to progress virtually seamlessly on to drawing up the professional development plan with her team. As all members of staff are involved in the development plan, they all have ownership and responsibility for it and therefore, are more likely to be positively motivated and have the desire to see it through (Smith, 2002). As a leader, the manager must ensure that the members of staff within the nursery feel valued.

The simple things, such as giving praise when it is due and showing respect for the person as an individual, can make the difference between a member of staff who struggles to come into work each day, or a highly motivated individual who feels trusted and confident in their work. In this nursery, the manager is actively involved with staff and children daily. Her management style is democratic, or participative. The writer believes that being a member of the dynamic workforce and setting a good example is a skill that can only be advantageous.

Practitioners do not only have to work with professionals within their personal environment any more. Increasingly, today’s early years settings have other outside agencies working in close contact with them. Just as the manager has to adopt various styles when talking to her own staff, so is the case when dealing with the wide variety of parents and professionals encountered within the workplace. The manager will adopt a different style appropriately as a reflection of the person to whom she is speaking.

In this instance, the manager is very familiar with the proprietor of the nursery establishment, as he is in regular contact ensuring the building is in good condition and that no problems arise. She utilises a good balance of people and interpersonal skills, in order to communicate effectively. The government recognises how important it is for early years practitioners to work closely with parents and there is a great emphasis put on this now. Bronfenbrenner stated that primary and secondary socialization are two major factors that may affect a child’s development.

A child’s genetics is their blueprint and provides it with a set of characteristics that will remain with it throughout the rest of its life. Bronfenbrenner (Grigerenko, 2001), produced a diagram showing all factors that influence each and every one of us, its centre is the child. There will be many changes during a child’s life that will have an affect on him, but the child is at the centre of the systems of influence. Closest to the child is the microsystem; family, school, home and peer groups. These fall under secondary socialization. These are possibly the most directly influential factors upon a child.

It is understandable, therefore, that the government place such importance on ensuring that early years practitioners maintain this partnership with parents. ‘Partnership with parents’ is based on the underpinning principle that establishing a good working relationship with parents, is fundamental in maintaining a positive impact on a child’s development and learning (QCA, 2000). Not only is this necessary in raising the educational achievement in children, it also helps to enhance children’s confidence and develop their communication skills.

The manager in this setting encourages her staff to perform regular observations of the children and the parents are invited into the nursery on a regular basis to discuss these and any other issues or concerns they may have. Once every month a newsletter is written by the manager and sent home to all the parents. This letter will contain all important dates relevant to the nursery, any achievements made by either children and staff and any other issues the manager feels parents need to be made aware of.

Notifying parents in all these areas helps to raise awareness of the nursery processes. The parents are made aware of times the members of staff are available to talk to and the children are assigned key workers within the nursery to provide familiarity. As all members off staff are involved in this process, the manager is also responsible in overseeing the interactions and on occasion is present at meetings. If a parent has a concern and becomes difficult or angry, the team are aware that the manager should be asked to intervene at any time.

This is vital to the effectiveness of this system as the team working with the children need that security of knowing the manager is always behind them in everything they do. This work has examined the role of the manager within an early years setting. The writer has critically evaluated the competence of the supervisor in this setting and is of the opinion that the manager is not only an excellent role model to her staff, but also a successful leader of her team.

Her communication skills enable her to address each member of staff fittingly and with the management style appropriate to the situation. Her style of leadership is comparable to the most up to date theories of management and she successfully combines this with the ability to organise the nursery to an exceptional standard. The reflective practitioner utilises the observations of staff and children to advance and progress their performance and as a result is a highly respected member of the team and the community.

If it was possible to summarise the job description of this manager in her early years setting in a few words, they would be communicative, motivating, inspiring, compassionate and steadfastly child orientated. Being an effective manager is not just something we are born with. Aspiring managers and leaders must merge education, training, learning and innovation together, to become the best they can be. Having a sound theoretical background is an essential and the best managers and leaders enhance this with motivation, self-belief and the ability to inspire others.