Being a childcare business owner comes with a lot of responsibility. Not only do you have the precious loved ones of parents at the center of your business, you’ve got a plethora of childcare professionals to care for. So how can you help your team become the childcare rock stars they’re destined to be?
Since I’ve been running my childcare business for over 13 years, you’ll know I have learned A LOT in that time. In all honesty, I’ve made countless mistakes, but I’ve also helped numerous childcare workers achieve their goals! And I try to make sure I learn from every slip up, so that it doesn’t happen again.
One thing I’ve been successful at over the years is building a great team to work with me. I have developed strategies and leadership skills that allow me to support them and help them grow.
Here are a few of the ways you can do this too, to help your team flourish:
Help your team notice their strengths and weaknesses
Get to know your employees in the workplace. Sounds cheesy, but identifying their strengths and weaknesses is the key to unlocking the potential of each member of your team. Spend time with them playing with the daycare children, observe the way they interact with others and how they carry themselves. Are they confident? Do they feel able to ask for help?
Paying attention to your team’s strengths and weaknesses means you can provide them with support in all the right places. You can seek out opportunities for professional development training where needed and do it in a positive way. As a Childcare Ninja, one of your most important jobs is to detect these strengths and weaknesses, then use that knowledge to propel their productivity and get them on board.
Part of this is actually being honest about your own strengths and weaknesses with your team. Learning together can be a massive turning point! Talk about your own journey and let them see it’s okay to recognize where you need to do the work, but it’s also great to celebrate how far you’ve come.
Give your team wings to fly
Being a business owner is a fine balance of wanting to have control, but also letting go. I get it. Your business is your baby. You’ve put in hours and want to make sure everything is managed PERFECTLY. I know. I hear you! But the problem with this comes when you’ve got to take an unforeseen break – say, an emergency with your mom – and you’ve got to let someone else take the reins. Firstly, you’ve got to have systems in place for if this does happen. Secondly, you need to know your team will cope okay without you.
So, while you’ve got the opportunity, allow members of your team the opportunity to grow. Let them take on tasks you might normally reserve for yourself. Give them the chance to be creative in their problem solving before you step in. Help your team help themselves! When you see how brilliant they are in situations, you’ll be able to rest easy when the time comes for an operation (or even – GASP! – a holiday).
Show your team that you care
Working in childcare is hard. Especially when you’re new to it and you’re young and learning constantly. Do you remember? Was there a manager or childcare owner who went the extra mile to support you? I didn’t really experience this, so I do my utmost to be the change I want to see! I want to create a culture of kindness in my daycare centers, for both the children AND the staff.
Before you freak out, I’m not saying we all go on spa breaks together and play team building games in lunch breaks! I’d just say that there’s a real need for us as business owners to set a good example. Let’s be creative with incentives to get the team working together for a common cause. A little friendly competition here and there, like a Bake Off or a poster design. A “Random Acts of Kindness” tree in the staff room is a lovely touch I’ve seen before.
And most of all, take time to show them that you care. I love writing my team cute hand written notes, so they know I’m thinking of them. A little kindness really does go a long long way. And they’ll remember how you treated them, hopefully going on to lead as you’ve done when the time comes.
I hope this has shown you how to lead your team to become the rock stars they’ve always meant to be! Let me know in the comments if you have any other tactics to share. I’m always keen to develop my leadership skills and continue my own Childcare Ninja journey!
Before you go, have you found the Childcare Ninja Facebook group yet? We are an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup! Interested in becoming a part of the community? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!