Open Discussion Forum

  • 1.  An Effective Leader

    Posted 10-14-2021 11:25 PM
    Please share your position on what characteristic the director, supervisor, or lead teacher should have in order to be an effective leader in an early childhood setting.. From my perspective that person should be an active listen, and respect other point of view. Especially in a problem solving situation and other issues that may need attention.
    Edna Brown
    Lancaster, CA

    Edna Brown
    Lancaster CA

  • 2.  RE: An Effective Leader

    Posted 10-16-2021 04:52 PM
    I believe effective leaders are very similar to effective teachers.  Just as teachers of all ages want to encourage and support self reliance in students , I believe people in leadership positions such as lead teacher and director really want to promote their staff's ability to work independently once they are trained in on procedures and expectations.  Thus is why I am so surprised at how many people in leadership positions forget one of the most important teaching practices- POSITIVE FEEDBACK!!!  We know that the best way to teach is to notice what is going right and shine the light on it.  Not only will that reinforce the good practices of our students, but it also builds a wonderful relationship of appreciation and respect.  When a student is getting it right - especially if that student is struggling, catch them making good choices and give some praise!  We would never expect our students to learn a skill when we only tell them what they are doing wrong.  Sadly, many people in leadership positions, especially lead teacher positions, reward good work with silence, and only take the time to call out mistakes.  This is exactly the kid of leadership that creates staff who feel powerless to make their own choices, and who are constantly bringing small, inconsequential questions for approval and comment!  The assistant teacher quickly learns to feel that they can never please their lead teacher, and so they stop trying to take initiative, and respond more robotically.  This, no doubt, leaves the lead teacher feeling like they have to do everything themselves, is both are quickly burnt out and exasperated!!  If you want competent, confident staff, tell them what they are doing right 5 x as much as what they are doing wrong - you will be surprised at the growth your staff is actually capable with, and the joy that will re-enter the work place!!

    Margro Purple
    Rockville MD

  • 3.  RE: An Effective Leader

    Posted 10-17-2021 11:59 AM
    Thank you Margo for your suggestion and explanation of the parallel process of supporting children and supporting educators from a "strengths-based" perspective. Leadership begins with acknowledging one's own strengths and then using those strengths to shine a light on the strengths of others. 

    I witnessed the power of positive feedback in my experience as a CDA advisor. When I would tell candidates all the wonderful things I observed them doing in their classroom their self-confidence surged. I noticed they began to engage in their work more fully and were intentional about practicing what had been affirmed in our conversations together. 

    A skilled leader can recognize the "negativity bias" of the human brain and help him/her self and others by balancing it with honest and heartfelt feedback which focuses on the many plans, actions, and interactions that are going well.

    I remember a mantra from positive guidance training which says for every negative statement a child hears it takes 10 times that to restore them to positive self-esteem. I believe the same is true for all humans.

    Linda Boss
    University of WI - Platteville
    Lewistown PA

  • 4.  RE: An Effective Leader

    Posted 10-18-2021 09:25 AM
    I agree! I highly recommend the book Coaching with Powerful Interactions (Jablon, Dombro)!

    Elizabeth Huber
    ETSU Little Buccaneers Early Childhood Laboratory Program
    Johnson City TN