Management and Leadership in the Early Years

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Throughout this assignment a discussion will take place into the theories of leadership, whilst examining the role of managers within the context of the early years. A series of management competences will be evaluated, whilst investigating the notions of leadership and collaboration.

Some theorists use the terms ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ reciprocally as if they are tantamount with one another, while others use them in a very purposeful sense to express that they are, in effect, rather different (Bush, 2003). Organisational successfulness, it is generally accepted, is dependant on both competent leadership and consistent management (Dimmock and Walker, 2005) According to Grace (1995) they do not follow from one or the other, but merely from the effective amalgamation of the two. Gamage and Pang (2003) claim they are incredibly complementary, although, the sine qua non of management success, has consistently averted professionals from considering that there is certainly a genuine distinction between the two.

The concept of ‘manager’ for example, in recent years became applied to all individuals who had a responsibility for organising activities, planning, with decision making concerning staff and so on (Bush, 2003). According to McCaffery (2004) management is unjustly, and incorrectly, portrayed as a straightforward, pointless and bureaucratic process, leadership by contrast is perpetually viewed as a complex and fine art. Dimmock and Walker (2005) assert that a leader is an individual who rules, directs or motivate others. A significant difference between the two, is that leaders do the right thing and managers do things right (McCaffery, 2004).

All establishments have to be managed (Dunham, 1995). However, the management practices required can differ significantly (Bush, 2003). There are a variety of effective leadership styles, ranging from total autocracy to the complete opposite; democracy (Gamage and Pang, 2003).

An autocratic leader within the specified setting is the head teacher, whom informs the colleagues directly and laconically, without further discussion (Dimmock and Walker, 2005). Autocratic leaders provide incentives for excellent performance and penalties for under-performance (Dunham, 1995), this is evident in the setting; following a recent ofsted inspection the school achieved a rating of ‘good’ this resulted in the head teacher rewarding members of staff with individual cards and presents. Autocratic leadership perpetuates a firm control and an official network of interpersonal relations between the leader and team members (Grace, 1995).

Advantages of the autocratic leadership style consist of everybody knowing accurately what is required of them and responsibilities, situations and relationships are clearly delineated (Dimmock and Walker, 2005). Time management is usually exceptional, as management sets the objectives and organises the work (Brundrett et al, 2003). Decisions are completed swiftly as there is no discussion with subordinates (Grace, 1995). An additional benefit from the autocratic style is that colleagues receive direct and instant assistance towards achieving their aims (Brundrett et al, 2003).

Disadvantages of the autocratic style of leadership consist of suppressing their colleagues own initiatives, hence, not making the best use of the employee’s knowledge, skills and experiences (Dunham, 1995), this could result in subordinates not reaching their full potential (Bush, 2003). A further disadvantage of the autocratic style may be that if the manager/leader is not present, vital tasks may not be completed (Grace, 1995).

According to Bush (2008) the democratic style of leadership contains the ‘laissez-faire’ approach, where an organisation does not have a leader, however, may have a specific individual who operates as a facilitator. The democratic leader within the setting is a year two teacher, their democratic style presents a great deal of communication...
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