A leader's most powerful tool is communication
A leader is someone who inspires passion and motivation in followers. In a childcare setting, there are many types of leaders. Teachers are leaders of the children. Administrators are leaders for the teachers. Regardless of what type of leader you are or who you are leading, one of a leader's most powerful tools is communication and conversation.
Effective communication is vital to gain trust, align efforts in the pursuit of goals, and inspire positive change. When communication is lacking, important information can be misinterpreted, causing relationships to suffer and, ultimately, creating barriers that hinder progress.
Remember, one of the most important motivators for people is that they feel they are being listened to, that they feel valued, and that their ideas are heard and appreciated. This type of leadership requires being out of your office and in your environment. In childcare, this can be challenging. Schedule times out of your office during crucial drop-off and pick-up times so you are easily accessible to your parents for conversations.
Be involved with your staff by being accessible and demonstrating your interest in knowing how they are doing, their goals, their opinions, their families, and their interests. During your daily walkarounds, greet your staff and ask questions about events that are important to them.
Important steps to great communication are:
Be in the conversation and nowhere else
Ask open-ended questions to continue the conversation
Listen more than you talk
Let silence do the heavy lifting
Thank the person for their time, suggestions, or ideas.
Some individuals are naturals at effective communication. For those of us who are not, we must commit to it to know its importance, to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and accept ideas and help, and to seek continuous improvement.
Continuing to improve your communication will lead to continuing to significantly improve your leadership!