Leadership or Management? How Do Leaders Guide Their Staff to Greatness???
Leadership is thinking about the purpose for which your program exists. It is designing a vision and writing a mission statement that shows your dreams for your program and how you plan to make the dreams come true. The mission statement tells what you will do to make the vision come true.
If you don’t yet have a mission statement, start by brainstorming how you want your program to be different. What do you want it to be like? Following are some questions to help you think.
- What do we want to stand for?
- What shared values do we think are important for our program to show what is important?
- How do we want to treat the children in our care?
- How do we want to treat parents?
- How will we interact as a group of adults who support and help one another as we work side by side every day?
- How do we want to define success in our program?
- How do we want to be seen by our community?
Leadership is a Statement of Your Hopes & Dreams for Your Program. What are your hopes & dreams for the future? What kind of program would your staff want to wake up to every morning? What kind of a program would young children wake up looking forward to every day? What kind of program would instill trust in the hearts of parents and cause them to want to work with teachers to create places where they love to be with their children?
Much of the leadership literature refers to leadership as the exercise of influence, the use of power and position to prod, provoke, and persuade people to take a particular course of action. In much of the literature on transformation, the traditional model of top-down management is giving way to a more collaborative approach to shared leadership. Today many leaders define leading as the process of influencing others to achieve mutually agreed-upon goals rather than coercing, controlling, or manipulating people to achieve desired outcomes.
Directors have lots to do to manage their programs – budgeting, collecting &imputing fees, ordering equipment and supplies, responding to & helping to solve program crises, listening to staff complaints, helping staff solve problems, planning & leading staff meetings, planning & implementing program improvements, listening to & collaborating with parents, helping staff with difficult children, planning parent events, etc. All of these tasks must be done with a leadership mindset.
The leader must constantly think about the vision and mission of the program. Doing this will give focus as they solve problems and take care of every day matters.
To do this takes skill. It’s much like a juggler, a gymnast, or a tightrope walker. Each of these must focus exclusively on a point outside their bodies. As they focus on one point it enables them to keep their balance and complete what they want to do. A director must face every problem and incident with a leadership mindset, focusing on the mission that she wants to accomplish. When every problem is solved with this mindset, other considerations are cleared away and he/she decides how to solve the problem and create an atmosphere that shows others the way.
Leaders lead the way. Employees who buy into the leader’s ideals and goals will gladly follow as the leader shows them the way to go to their great future. They believe the leader knows the way and she can guide the group to figure out how to get there.
“A Leader is someone you’d choose to follow to a place you wouldn’t go by yourself.”