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Management of Services and People

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Management of Services and People 'There is no simple tool-kit or beginner's guide to managing any organisation. Instead managers have to be prepared to listen, learn, understand and be part of the dynamic of their organisation. They must find a way in which management adds to the organisation rather than constrains it.' (Taken from Lawrie, 1998). Lawrie's comment implies that managing an organisation is a continual process of experiential learning and that there are no set of techniques that would guarantee the successful management of all organisations. His words suggest that managers learn to manage specific organisations whilst 'on the job' or 'as they go along' and that this will enable them to find the most appropriate method or style of management in any given situation. Whilst I believe that a number of newly appointed managers (myself included) find themselves managing an organisation for which they have had little formal training or preparation, there are many theories about what management should achieve and what skills and abilities are needed to achieve them that are common to all organisations. I would also argue that many of these management skills are used on a regular basis in the day to day practice of non-managers since 'managing people is at the heart both of providing services to users, families and wider communities.' (Coulshed & Mullender, 2001:13). This assignment will look at the role of management in general and the tasks of supervision and partnership working in detail, in order to examine these theories by applying them to my own experience of managing Loughborough Nightstop. Loughborough Nightstop is a non-profit making organisation and is therefore part of what is commonly called the 'voluntary sector'. Beginning some 7 years ago, Nightstop works with young people who are in some kind of 'housing need' and we provide supported housing and resettlement services. It has grown considerably over the past three years as can be demonstrated financially by the fact that it initially had an annual turnover of some �13,000 and now has a turnover of over �250,000 per annum. ...read more.

Middle

They describe the overall purpose of supervision as 'the service to users within the limits of agency task, professional knowledge and financial resources' (Hughes & Pengelly, 2002:40). Most managers including myself would agree that the practicalities of supervision concern the regularity of supervision, its priority, the need for privacy and uninterrupted space and time and a supervisory contract. Whilst I have used contracts in supervision in the past I have not used them so far in Nightstop. However, they would be a particularly useful tool in allowing both myself and the supervisee time to discuss in detail the purpose of supervision especially as at present I have several fairly new members of staff who are not familiar with this aspect of professional development. One such member of staff repeatedly says she does not need supervision and it is okay if it is only monthly, but she then rings me on a regular basis every week to check things out. It would probably be a much more beneficial use of our time if we met formally on a weekly basis until she was more established in post. Coulshed and Mullender's views on supervision echo those of Hughes and Pengelly since they describe supervision as combining elements of management, education and support. They argue that 'the organisation as a whole needs frameworks which encompass these same three elements, which - become performance appraisal, staff development and staff care' (Coulshed & Mullender, 2001:162). Achieving the most appropriate balance between these three potentially conflicting responsibilities is undoubtedly difficult but extremely important if supervision is to have any value. For example, 'if support is treated as an end of supervision, there is a danger of a collusive focus on the workers needs for their own sake rather that a focus on the worker in order to promote a better service' (Hughes & Pengelly, 2002:48). In a recent supervision session, I had to combine informing an employee that her performance was not up to standard with support in enabling her to improve. ...read more.

Conclusion

This does not sit easily if as an organisation we are committed to principles of social justice. However Himmelman argues that 'the sharing of power amongst different stakeholders is the only way to achieve the vision of social justice' (Sullivan & Skelcher, 2002:38). This can only be possible, I would argue, where members of the community are included as stakeholders. Himmelman (1996) believes that through 'collaborative betterment' agencies can create systems where the community is invited to play a part, as is often the case, but that 'collaborative empowerment' would lead to a 'capacity to set priorities and control resources that are essential for increasing community self determination. The process starts with community organisation and then spreads out to engage public, private and other organisations in the collaborative activity' (Sullivan & Skelcher, 2002:38). Thus partnership working holds the promise of working towards a more inclusive agenda if we can involve members of the community in that partnership. In Loughborough and amongst the partnerships with which I am currently involved this is far from the case at present but the possibility is there for the future. Being a good or effective manager is, I would argue, more than the simple learning involved in managing one organisation, even if skills are developed to suit that particular organisation. The need for organisations to interact with a wide variety of institutions, organisations, partners and individuals mean that a broader complement of skills are needed if the organisation is to exist successfully in a changing environment. Thus at Nightstop, all aspects of management, including my own, need to reflect our values and commitment. Only in this way can we be sure that we 'pursue not only (our) early values of respect for persons, but also new principles of equality, social justice and the highest achievable standards of service for hitherto marginalised and devalued groups within society' (Coulshed & Mullender, 2001:10). Our commitment therefore needs to be a tangible aspect of our practice including management, supervision and partnership working. ...read more.

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