Leadership in any job role is important, as you will know those in management positions are the facilitators of the company’s success and growth. Leadership requires you to develop, support, encourage and motivate a staff team, as well as model a high standard of practice, knowledge and care.
Working with young children is a rewarding and fulfilling job; we work in early years because we are passionate about making positive changes for young children. In a typical nursery setting there are several people in leadership roles, from room supervisors to nursery managers. Strong leadership means that those who are working and studying as apprentices, or nursery nurses looking to take the next step in their careers will have the support and guidance by those in senior positions.
I would like to share and no doubt reiterate the key qualities a leader should have, so that you can continue to develop and support your setting and staff team to the best of your abilities –
Typically, those that are given leadership roles demonstrate the qualities needed to be an effective leader, yet it is vital that all leaders understand exactly what is required to be the best leader for their staff team, children and business.
My statement for an effective leader encompasses all of the core qualities I believe a leader should have:
“A leader should be an inspiring role model that includes their staff team and delegates tasks and activities appropriately to ensure everyone feels involved and empowered. The leader must have excellent communication skills, which will enable them to support their staff team as a group and individually. Leaders should have sound knowledge of their field so that they can teach, train and guide their colleagues, ensuring the business continuously grows and develops”.
To inspire others to achieve is one of the most rewarding things a leader can do. All leaders should inspire their team, as that will give them the motivation to be the best that they can be, try new ideas and work hard. People remember a teacher or person in their lifetime that inspired them to be better or to try something new.
We lead by example. A strong leader, will have a motivated team that demonstrates good practice and standards because the person leading the team role models effectively. As a manager or owner it is crucial to spend time working with the children and staff to understand their daily challenges and model behaviour, teaching and communication, this way the staff can see first hand the standards expected.
A good communicator, ensures that their team knows exactly what is going on. A manager should be able to discuss, supervise, advise and delegate where appropriate. Listening is vital, leaders should always listen to their teams ideas and suggestions, helping them to feel valued and part of the growth and success of the business.
Leaders that are experts in their field are able to share their expertise and knowledge to support, advise and teach their staff team. Effective leaders do not withhold their strengths but share them, provide training and give reason behind theories and methods we use in early education.
If your staff feel supported they are far more receptive to their managers. Working in early years is a fulfilling and wonderful job yet it is tiring, physically and emotionally. Staff need the emotional support from their managers as it enables them to connect and feel able to confide and communicate with their manager.
Leaders do not try to do everything themselves, they delegate and give responsibility to others under their guidance to instill confidence and give involvement to their staff. Staff that feel appreciated, involved and trusted have better work performance and happiness surrounding their job roles.
Working in early years is a team effort, no matter your position every person is a link to the overall success and workings of a setting. Keep inspiring, involving, supporting and sharing your passion.
Jamie Victoria, AKA the Childcare Guru, has worked as a, nursery manager, forest school leader and deputy head. Today she offers bespoke consultancy and training for early years settings as well as forest school sessions and much more. Find her at www.thechildcareguru.co.uk