Leadership can be viewed from three perspectives:
The exercise of influence
Most early childhood and family service administrators readily accept the notion that an essential part of leadership is one’s ability to inspire, motivate, and affect the feelings and actions of others. But when the conversation expands to include a discussion of authority and the exercise of power, many in our ranks feel uncomfortable, believing that these terms carry negative connotations. This is unfortunate because the way in which leaders view the authority and power relationships inherent in their organizations has everything to do with their ability to achieve their programs’ missions.
Rethinking personal conceptions of power and moving to a model of facilitative leadership means rethinking the specifics of how you as a leader can create partnerships in every facet of your organization’s operations.
An expression of values
Our personal values shape our beliefs about what is important to pursue, how we treat others, and how we choose to spend our time… A belief is different from a value…Our core values cut across all aspects of our lives. They serve as a point of reference, a moral compass for making daily decisions. They give rise to our fundamental commitments, the things in life that we consider worthy for their own sake…What does this mean in your day-to-day life as an administrator?
A statement of hopes and dreams
Rare is the early childhood director who does not feel caught in a whirlwind of activity created by the daily demands of the administrative role. The nitty gritty of the director’s job leaves precious little time to stand back and envision the future. Directors who dare to dream big, who have a compelling sense of purpose and vision for their programs, are indeed rare in our profession. This is understandable. But how is it that some early childhood and family service administrators seem undaunted by the limiting realities of the early childhood field? Despite the same obstacles, they create organizations that achieve extraordinary outcomes for children and families. These directors see themselves as agents of change whose calling is to connect the dots of values, mission, and vision.
Excerpted from Bloom, P.J. (2004). Leadership as a way of thinking. Zero to Three, (25)2.