I love the advice Duncan Bannatyne gives in his book, ‘Wake Up and Change your Life’. The book is about how to start a business, but lots of the guidance in the book is relevant to leading schools. The chapter on ‘How to manage people’ is a prime example of this. It explains really clearly how to delegate effectively:
“If you’re part of a management team, you want to make sure that everyone’s roles are well defined and that you each know what you are responsible for, so that you don’t step on each other’s toes. These are my guidelines for effective people management:
- Agree what each of you is responsible for.
- set an achievable target.
- Set a deadline for achieving those targets.
- Meet at a regular time and place to update each other on your progress.
Aside from that, leave each person to get on with his or her own job… When you’re all hyped about your venture, there’s a natural tendency to want to get involved in everything, and that leads to a natural tendency to want to get involved in everything, and that leads to meddling, a duplication of tasks, time-wasting and conflict. The people who work for you need to know what is expected of them, how their work will be monitored, what they have the authority to do without referring to you and the timeframes they are expected to work to. No one appreciates a boss who micro-manages their every move, and once the boundaries have been set, you should stick to them.”
Chris Gorman later adds in the same book:
“Sir Tom Farmer, the founder of Kwik Fit told us something that I’ve never forgotten: it’s all about people. You have to remember that your staff have lives outside work, and sometimes they might have had a bad day, but the more you understand your people, the more you get out of them.”
It’s vital to have a clear management structure with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and expectations. Job descriptions for each person, including volunteers, should be clear, possibly tailored to the person who is most right for the job. It is vital that you play to the strengths of your team. It’s important to value the person as a whole so that expectations can be realistic yet forward-driven.