In his book The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow, Dr. John C. Maxwell states, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” If an organization has effective leadership, it has a huge advantage toward reaching long-term success. This adage holds just as when it comes to the director of a child care program as it does for the CEO of a major corporation. Solid leadership is an essential element of any healthy organization.
Since excellent leadership is so crucial for your child care center, it makes sense to clearly define what characteristics this type of educational facility needs to have in a leader. Though some leadership qualities are important for the head of any group to possess, certain attributes are especially vital in the child care profession. Anyone you consider hiring as director for your child care center should shine in these unique areas of expertise.
Recognizing how to identify these qualities in director applicants is going to be one of the main topics of this series of articles on understanding the multifaceted role of a child care center director. Perhaps you’re an owner of a child care facility looking to hire a new director. Or maybe you are a director yourself. In either case, the information in this series of articles is intended to help you better define the director’s role and work toward reaching peak performance for this pivotal position in your center.
Listed below are some characteristics to look for in a child care center director.
Ability to Effectively Set and Achieve Developmental Goals
Quality education isn’t likely to take place in a facility that has no clearly defined educational goals. Being able to carefully craft, communicate, and implement realistic yet ambitious goals is an extremely important skill for a child care center director to master. This quality normally requires the director to receive either formal or informal training in the field of early childhood education. For this reason, many child care centers seek out directors who have a college background and prior experience in early childhood education.
If you’re the person responsible for hiring a child care director, it would be a good idea to ask detailed interview questions about which developmental goals the potential director would set in place for the center’s students. The answers to these questions should include age-appropriate educational and developmental goals for the various age-groups who are enrolled as students at the child care facility.
Ability to Hire a Proficient Staff
A director is only as effective as the teachers and other staff members they hire. Since hiring a top-notch team is so important, the director needs to be especially discerning in this area. Hiring quality individuals involves careful interviewing, screening, conducting background checks, looking at resumes, and checking up on references. It’s always wiser to be choosy during the hiring process rather than hastily hire employees who end up having to be let go later on due to incompetence or misconduct.
Setting worthy goals and hiring the right staff to reach those aspirations are two of the challenges a successful child care center director should be equipped to tackle. In our next article in this series, we’ll take a look at some of the other important responsibilities someone in this leadership role should be able to fulfill.