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Negative management style

So The TES's love affair with the new management styles in further education is deepened by an article on February 3 on the hidden managerial talents of Eddie McIntyre, principal of Birmingham's College of Food. He is quoted as saying: "I'm not paid to be liked. If I do the job well we will continue to grow and flourish."

I have had personal meetings with Mr McIntyre and the other principals who tell me that "running a college is not a popularity contest". I have tried to convince them that it might be possible to involve and motivate staff by a more participative approach, working with lecturers' strengths rather than focusing on their alleged weaknesses.

Such an approach would be a requirement in a system where college managements were open to a democratic accountability which involved more than financial audit. Unfortunately, the present arrangements place an unrestricted level of power with the chief executive who can then decide whether or not to be a benevolent dictator.

The article would have been much more substantial if you had spoken to some of the staff. But in the current climate of fear, their comments will almost certainly have to remain anonymous.

PAUL MACKNEY

NATFHE regional official

53 Bradford Street

Digbeth, Birmingham

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