As a Director, do you sometimes feel like you are in a rut? If you can admit this to yourself, then, you’re ready to embrace the struggle. Once you admit it to yourself, you can work towards making improvements for yourself and your team. Ask yourself: What is your end goal? Then, work backward! What actions will you take or habits will you change to reach your goal? What resources do you need to implement these actions? If you have an employee that is “in a rut”, they do not need you to “tear them down”, instead, they need you to build them up. How can you, as a supervisor, utilize your knowledge, resources, and experience to support their success and help them meet their goals? If their goals are met, then, your goals as a supervisor should also be well on their way to being fulfilled.
There are three main ways you can work towards enhancing your support of yourself and therefore the educators at your center.
When hiring someone new, it is important to identify their interests, so you can guide them and enhance their professional experience. You can do this by helping them to utilize their relevant and appropriate life experiences, interests, and joys to assist them in drawing connections to their professional life. For example, if a teacher loves to travel, then, when this teacher is in the classroom, their love for travel, places they’ve visited, their acceptance of different cultures and people, and their knowledge could be part of their teaching experience. By allowing this type of connection to occur, teachers begin to feel appreciated and accepted. If a teacher can be more authentic in the classroom, then children in their care will learn better, as they will feel more connected to the teacher, too!
Each employee is Interesting and has their own individual strengths. Have you ever heard the phrase strength builds upon strength? When people are confident in their skill sets, their strengths shine! When a persons’ strengths shine, they are more effective, more efficient, better able to articulate their ideas, and can manage tasks and projects more successfully. Some people have strengths but lack confidence from within and while as a supervisor in a professional setting, it may seem “untraditional” to boost ones’ confidence, you would be surprised about how far a little recognition can go! If your team members feel they have your support and that you believe in them, they will be more likely to come to you when they are in need of assistance. As well, you will be able to carry on a more authentic and honest professional relationship with each individual. Imagine the effect that this approach could have on retention!
Gallup research shows that some generations only remain in their roles for 2-3 years. The Gallup report shows that “only 29% of millennials are engaged at work, meaning only about three in 10 are emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company.”
Some of the primary reasons they leave their current company are related to being underappreciated, perceiving they are not valued, an inability to advance, and or limited wage increase opportunities. The report also states that “It’s possible that many millennials actually don’t want to switch jobs, but their companies aren’t giving them compelling reasons to stay. When millennials see what appears to be a better opportunity, they have every incentive to take it. While millennials can come across as wanting more and more, the reality is that they just want a job that feels worthwhile — and they will keep looking until they find it.”
When individual employees can identify their own strengths and challenges, they can effectively build upon those areas, making them more effective educators and employees. Combining a supportive environment with genuine appreciation should encourage and support employee retention.
2. Professional Growth
Prior to the beginning of the school year, try having each employee identify three to five personal goals and professional goals they are interested in working towards over the course of the year. To support the development in each of these areas, the employee in coordination with the supervisor should identify resources that can be utilized to work towards accomplishing the identified goals. Scheduled times throughout the year should exist to support conversations regarding progress, achievements, and most importantly, re-evaluation to see if any adjustments need to be implemented. HiMama Academy offers easy-to-access professional development opportunities that can support this effort!
Perhaps, as a supervisor, you do not have the time to focus on individualized growth plans for each of your employees. If your time does not allow for this model, it is possible that some responsibilities can be delegated? Is it possible that other managers within your company, school, or organization could be responsible for overseeing or at least mentoring or following up with a group of employees? Imagine an environment where a great majority of a company’s employees have identified growth plans!
3. Boundaries and Delegation
As a supervisor, it is important to identify your boundaries, but also the areas where you are comfortable delegating specific responsibilities to team members to support and encourage their growth and autonomy. Often, supervisors need to strike the tricky balance between being diplomatic and empathetic, while maintaining the integrity of the office, school, or business; atop all of the other responsibilities! Identifying the tasks that do not require your direct attention will help you to delegate tasks to other employees with known strengths related to the specific task(s). Not only does this lighten your load, but it provides other professionals within your center to learn and grow. When employees receive opportunities for growth, they feel valued, appreciated, and heard. When employees feel their supervisors take significant interest in their individual success, it can create a situation where employees feel valued, appreciated, better prepared, and furthermore, ready to take on new challenges!
Supporting Success Adds Value
Turn your companies’ struggles into success by investing time and money into professional growth. Ideally, your educators and employees participate in multiple types of evaluations throughout the course of the year. Evaluations should not be solely based upon the employee efforts and outputs, but also the employees’ relationships with others within the work setting. Through this ongoing process of observation, evaluation, and self-reflection, employees learn more about themselves and gain more control over their professional growth by working to achieve their goals. Employees want to feel valued, not easily replaceable. So, the more we can display our investment in their success and growth, the more supported they feel and the greater likelihood they will perform better in their roles!
Stacey Band, MPA
Educator, Parent Coach, and Founder of Home Day Hero