The role of the manager

The intention of this work is to discuss the role of the manager within an early years childcare, or educational setting. It aims to critically evaluate management competence, professional practice, effective communication and continuous improvement and the significant and emerging theories and principles that underpin these aspects. The writer will also deliberate the methods, techniques and processes relating to management and early years settings.

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The role of the reflective practitioner is particularly important in an early years setting and the implementation of staff appraisals and consequential development goals is an area where this is observable. The writer intends to study all these areas and facts relating to the setting and to review and discuss the performance of an early years manager. There are many different theories surrounding management. Weber favoured the classical approach and was very bureaucratic in his style.

Experts connected with the classical theory are not commonly associated with educational settings, as the characteristics are much less to do with people, as they are mechanistic. In order to examine a range of these theories, the critic has chosen to discuss the role of a manager in a nursery. A manager of such a setting, not only has to deal with the children, but also, amongst numerous other tasks, the habitual running of the nursery, staff, and administration. These various skills and activities all need to combine together to function effectively.

This is just one aspect of the fusion management theory. Supervisors adopting this style of management generally fill the spaces around them rather than occupy places within the hierarchy (www. thinkingmanagers. com, 9/12/06). The manager in this setting is supernumerary and as such she is able complete all jobs requiring her full attention, without the possible distraction of the children and other team members. As a reflective practitioner, it is vital that the manager is able to constantly review and change her management style, according to the people she is dealing with.

The most important people the manager has to consider in an early years setting, are the children. Every aspect of her daily routine is performed with the children in mind and whether this is communicating with parents, staff or health professionals, the manager should always demonstrate a caring and considerate attitude. It is the manager’s responsibility to provide a positive role model for children and staff alike and this may mean that the manager has to adopt various different management styles, in order to liaise successfully with everyone. Behaviour theorists regard the social factors of a workforce to be of greater importance.

The Hawthorne studies, conducted by Mayo (1926), recognised through the experiments in motivation, that productivity of the workforce increased no matter what changes were made to their working conditions. Years later, it was discovered that this was because the staff were recognised as having a voice and, more importantly, they were listened to (Diaper, 1990). As a nursery manager, it is necessary to have a workforce dedicated to providing the best they can for their children. They need to know that their staff members are willing to learn and progress in their field, in order to gain an understanding of the children they are caring for.