6 Habits of Amazing Child Care Leaders
Although many dream of being lead teacher, director, or owner of a childcare centre, not everyone appreciates how hard a role it is. Being a leader requires constant personal growth while motivating others to follow your lead. I’ve written about being a leader before, but today I want to draw on my personal experience to focus on 6 simple habits that can maximize your effectiveness as a leader. Making these a part of your daily routine will help you on the path to becoming a motivating and inspiring leader in the childcare industry and beyond.
Here are 6 habits of amazing child care leaders:
Always take note and verbalize when you see someone doing something well. If you want your team to honor you as a leader it is so important to notice and acknowledge them. Sometimes it’s a simple “hey I noticed you did some extra cleaning, thanks!”, or maybe it’s a written note thanking them for going the extra mile in one way or another. This will go a long way towards making your team feel valued and appreciated, and motivating them by letting them know that you notice when they are doing great work (not just when they aren’t).
2. Show Up
If you want to be respected by your team you must show up. The best military leaders are right in the trenches with the troops! Don’t just tell everyone what they need to do, be there alongside them to share the load. This might look like attending field trips, welcoming parents, or jumping in the classroom whenever you can. Although these things take time, they are a great way to build relationships with your team. If you feel that you do not have time for these things, consider reducing administration time through childcare management software or free up personal time by delegating like a pro.
3. Self Care
If you are going to be your best leader and be powerful you must take care of yourself first! At my school we always encouraged taking steps to maintain good physical, mental and spiritual health. This is not just for the team but the leader too. If you are struggling with poor physical, mental or spiritual health it will reflect in everything you do. Focus on taking better care of yourself and you’ll find that you’ll be better equipped to take care of (and lead) everyone else as well!
4. Alway be a Learner
In every 21st century business things are always changing. This means you have to learn to adapt by being an on-going learner in your field. Some simple ways to do this are by taking continuing Education classes, attend workshops (online or in-person) or listening to podcasts during your commute (or while making meals if you’re working from home). When we are open to being a lifelong learner we open up limitless opportunities for growth as an individual, while also leading by example for our staff and the children in our care.
5. Encourage Others
We already talked about acknowledging others, but here I want to talk about encouragement specifically. Teaching little ones is HARD work! I don’t know the last time you were in the classroom, but man, it’s hard work. Make sure you create a regular practice of encouraging your team with the work they are doing. Remind them of the mission and that they are making a difference. When we do this it helps create perspective and allows people to see beyond the dirty diapers or messy classroom to the bigger picture.
6. Remember Your Why
As a leader it is so important to know your why. Why do you do what you do? If you are present to that on a daily basis no one will be able to stop you. Find your why and remember it daily. If you don’t have a why or aren’t sure, then you need to take time to reflect and discover your purpose. If you don’t know why you are leading or why you chose your career, it will hold you back from reflecting on your effectiveness and reduce your potential to lead passionately and with purpose!
Being a leader is tough work especially in the world of childcare. I hope these 6 habits will help you develop your influence as a leader among your team. By reading this blog you’ve already shown that you are interested in ongoing learning so you’re well on your way! Don’t ever forget that the work you are doing matters and as a leader you have the chance to impact so many in big ways that can be life-changing, and in small ways that can put a smile on someone’s face. Don’t lose sight of the importance of all your contributions and take care of yourself and you will be an effective leader, appreciated by all who are impacted by your work!