In a recent webinar, we welcomed Arianne Cesar, consultant and CEO of Childcare Provider Services! Arianne joined us to discuss how we can create a more positive work culture within our centers and make sure our educators are feeling valued and recognized for their work. Through quality leadership, effective communication, staff incentives, and investing in the growth and development of ourselves and our educators, we can increase positivity at work!
Watch the webinar that inspired this blog post here!
What is leadership?
Leadership is a big responsibility. Leadership is all about your ability to lead others. So, what does it take to lead? It takes the courage to make big decisions even when it’s unexpected.
In a documentary called “The Call to Courage”, researcher Brene Brown speaks about vulnerability and leadership. She actually says there is no leadership without VULNERABILITY. Vulnerability is where fear meets courage. Giving your team the freedom to express creativity within the classroom, showing that you trust their decisions and that if they need help you are there for them. All leaders must present vulnerability and be open and honest with their team.
Leadership is also a transference of energy. You set the tone in your center. Your attitude and energy carry over into your center and the people that you lead. If you are mad, they can feel it. If you are out of wack in any type of way they can feel that too. You are of course human, but for some reason as a business owner, people don’t connect the two. You could be going through the worst time in your life but you are required to show up and be your best every day. Try to build a wall between reality and business, while still showing signs of vulnerability. I call this the Beyonce effect!!
What is mentorship?
Believe it or not, anyone can become a mentor. Especially childcare center directors that are good leaders. Your educators spend a lot of time at your center. They are human and they have things that stress them out. Be nice to everyone because you never know the journey someone is currently going through.
How do you grow as a leader?
Growth in leadership starts with setting a growth mindset for yourself.
- Become a student of your craft. If you want to lead, you have to be willing to be a student. You have to take the time to dig deep into all the parts that leadership consists of.
- Get to know yourself. Leading a center can be a very lonely journey. When you tie in the many responsibilities, and personalities that you are interacting with on a daily basis it is essential that you are taking care of your mental and physical health.
- Learn to listen to understand versus listening to respond.
- Find ways to stretch yourself. Learn new concepts that will help you grow as a leader and as a person.
- Find good books. Books such as the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C Maxwell, or Managing Transitions by William Bridges.
- Find good documentaries to watch about things that tie into leadership. For me, I will watch anything that Brene Brown does or Tony Robbins!
- Listen to podcasts. They are a great way to get information if you’re on the go.
- Lean into your skills, motivation, and creativity.
- Take a deeper dive into the personality types at your center. Try the DISC assessment with your team!
- Find a mentor or coach
- Surround yourself with people that understand your vision and align with your goals.
When I run my childcare center one of the main things I did was share my goals and vision for the center with my team. I made a presentation that showed where we were and where we were going. We spoke openly about everything; uniforms, curriculums, teams, branding, hiring, etc. This helped the staff understand where the center was headed. Also, if they recommended candidates to join the team, they knew what we were looking for based on the vision and goals I shared with them.
Building a leadership team
A leadership team usually consists of an administrative person and other team leaders in your center. Together, they help make decisions. Leadership teams are important because as the director, you are just one person. You cannot be everywhere at all times, dealing with everything. You need support and it is a great way to empower team members to step up.
Who should be on your leadership team?
The people you choose for your leadership team should be:
- Understand the vision
- Able to hold others accountable
- Able to add value
- Able to lead
- Able to communicate effectively
- Able to evaluate situations in an unbiased fashion
- Honest and accountable
- Able to understand vulnerability
- Willing to keep learning
What to expect from your leadership team?
Your leadership team should operate in alignment with your values and keep up with the growth and development of your center. Leadership team accountability is essential. There has to be accountability for every role on your team. Each team member is a piece of the overall puzzle.
In order to stay on top of everything, have regular meetings with your leadership team. Ensure you keep them on track and updated on everything. Don’t forget to have incentives for the leadership team as well. When they accomplish goals that help the vision, make sure they are acknowledged!
Having a strong leadership team at your childcare center is sure to result in stronger staff retention, employee relationships, positive workplace culture, and most importantly, well-educated children!
Watch the webinar that inspired this blog post here!
Want to learn more about important topics in early education like loose parts play? Sign up for the next webinar below, it is FREE! Even if you can’t join live, you will be emailed the recording and slides just for registering!