Some characteristics of effective child care professionals in leadership positions:
Leadership often begins internally and is a personality trait that can carry to a professional position.
Influence is used for positive purposes and is identified as a tool to support the program, staff members, children, families and community it serves.
Leadership is more about values and intention rather than power and presence.
Leaders give respect and in turn receive respect. Effective leaders recognize that respect is earned and requires effort and action to receive it.
Effective leaders also understand the dynamics of the workplace community that they lead and understand their role in it.
Leadership is about ethics and ethical treatment. A leader should not take this lightly and should strive to conduct their business in an ethically sound manner at all times.
A leader should be an effective communicator in spoken and written language.
A leader should have plenty of experience in the child care profession.
Respect may be considered one of the most important aspects of being in a leadership position. Respect for a leader, especially in a child care setting, is earned through the show of mutual respect and understanding.
A leader can use their influence for good or for bad. Effective and ethically sound leadership will use influence in a personal manner to encourage and support the positive attributes of a child care program, but never for unethical personal or professional gain.
There should be a sense of workplace unity and leaders should be an active participant in this and uphold its values and goals just like every other member. This creates a sense of community which encourages the support and respect of each individual as they combine to make up the workplace.
Communication is an integral part of effective leadership and is more in-depth than a verbal command or company email. An effective leader communicates with the staff members, families and children on their level and with respect and mindfulness. An effective leader also knows that communication goes two ways and needs to be balanced.
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