Whether you are an owner, director or both in a childcare center, your leadership skills will determine your success in this industry. There are several key traits that every successful owner has developed over their career. Here is a short list of items to consider if you want to become a great leader within your childcare environment.
Vision – Having a clear vision for creating and perfecting your childcare company is important if you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Vision requires more than passion. It requires relentless focus and rewards you accordingly.
Delegation – This is a difficult task for a lot of childcare company owners and directors. They want to do everything themselves to make sure it’s “done right”. Give up a little control and let your staff do their jobs. The key is to remember that you work ON your company not just IN it. Hire the right people for the right job, then manage. You don’t have to kill yourself with 14 hour days to be successful in this industry. Sometimes, it just seems that way.
Culture – The culture of a center begins with its ownership and management. Nearly all of your staff will follow the culture they experience when they are hired. Your ability to hire well and require the respectful conduct of a professional workplace will permeate each new hire … as will the disrespectful conduct of a bad hire. Ownership means acceptance of risk. Don’t let one bad apple … you know the story.
Trust your instincts – Most of the time, an owner knows the right answer when she (or he) takes the time to listen to that inner voice. If an owner has been in business for five years or more, then the “inner voice” becomes the “voice of experience”. If the owner has been in business less than five years, then it is especially important to listen to the inner voice including the voice that says “ … find professional help.” Pay attention, listen to yourself carefully, then trust yourself.
Self Evaluation – Think about your current leadership qualities. Do an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Once you can compensate for your own strengths and weaknesses, you will find your day-to-day work to be less stressful and your center will become the vision you’ve chosen.
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