When it comes to leadership in your childcare business, it’s really important that you let your team see you leading through service. You’re not just a body in an office, sending them instructions, you’re a human being who cares and wants their team to feel that.
But what does this sort of leadership really look like?
As someone who’s been leading like this for a long time, I wanted to share with you some ideas – about developing your leadership and building your team – that have worked well for me. So read on if you want to help your staff be the best they can be, while also growing your childcare business into the successful, profitable enterprise it deserves to be.
Let’s get started…
Serving your team through leadership
The idea behind this style of leadership is that by serving your team, you’re demonstrating that you care. You’re helping them become the most efficient and effective members of the crew, and that benefits everyone. They want to see you leading in an inclusive and honest way. So give them what they want! Set up systems that welcome their ideas and contributions.
As a leader in the community, don’t pull up the ladder on your way up, pull your team up with you as you grow. Show them that they too can be leaders.
I’m not talking about the displays (y’all know that is important!) because today’s focus is on leadership. But part of this is creating an environment where everyone who works there feels valued, seen and cared for. They want to feel supported by you and their colleagues. Be a role model. If you’re having a hard time, share your struggles (I mean, don’t over share, right?!) so they can watch and learn how to be resilient and handle challenges with grace as I’m sure you do by now.
In my childcare businesses, I’m proud of the fact that my team are pretty much part of my family. We spend so much time together that we support each other through thick and thin. When we have issues, we talk it out instead of muttering under our breath or getting frustrated bottling it all up. All of this is leadership.
Be there for them
A bit like the song in F.R.I.E.N.D.S., demonstrate that you’re always there to support your team. Make sure your communication is tight, so they know if they’ve got a problem, they can come straight to you. There’s nothing worse than when a member of the team doesn’t feel they can ask a question or bring up something that has happened. It brews resentment from both sides. And that’s not good for business.
You want the team to rally round you and your business, so rally round them. Build their loyalty and trust. Talk to them openly about your expectations, and be clear with your boundaries. And don’t be afraid to be human with them. It shows strength in your leadership.
This is a great opportunity for you to show that you respect and value your team. Put an end to meetings for meetings sake. There’s really no need. Fitting in whole team meetings is so tough when you’ve got multiple shift patterns to negotiate. Often the only day that suits some is a Saturday (unless, like me, your business is 24/7…) and that’s a lot to ask your employees, to give up their free time to come into work and sit through a meeting, only to have to go home again.
So why not move them online? We have the technology! Let’s make the most of it! Moving your staff meetings to Zoom or Teams or another platform allows you to conduct meetings and give some flexibility and freedom to your team. By demonstrating courtesy and showing them understanding in your leadership, you’ll build trust. Let them join from wherever they happen to be – comfort of their own home, a cafe, a resources room at the library.
Another plus of online meetings is that you can record them. So if a team member can’t make it – not only do you have a record of who attended – they can catch up on what they missed and your team have the opportunity to re-watch if they want to. Recordings also double up as evidence to show inspectors or any other interested bodies that you have great communication with your staff.
Obviously when it comes to staff training, wherever you are in the world, there’ll be some mandatory guidance around training or qualifications for your staff. Those are not what I’m addressing here, what I want to highlight is that technology has given us another gem for staff training. All of our childcare settings have different specifications and as business owners we want things a certain way.
We often spend a long time figuring out how we’re going to to train up new staff, give them a tour of the day care center, an induction training of what you expect and so on…it can be arduous. But it doesn’t have to be. One of the ways I’ve saved time and energy is by creating welcome training videos set for new team members. I can then use these until they need updating with every person who joins us.
In practical terms, this is essentially me giving the new member a guided tour via video. I’m showing them where things are kept, how displays work, what belongs in each room, checks they need to do each day, and how certain things work. It can be as comprehensive as you like, but this sends a clear message to new staff: she means business.
Create an environment that helps your team thrive.
They’ll become more efficient, effective and they’ll see you role modelling excellent leadership by caring for them. As such, you’ll notice them growing more loyal and that’s how you’ll grow a successful business. They’ll be invested in their future, knowing that you’ve got their backs, so long as they’ve got yours too.
Hopefully some of these will resonate with you and you’ll be nodding along! Was there anything I missed in terms of leadership? Let me know! I’m always learning, even after this long in the game!
If you want to read more about stepping into being the boss, you can read this blog. Or join us over in the Childcare Ninja Facebook group, come and say hi! We’d love to welcome you into the space and find out how you’re getting on.
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