Category Archives: Performance Management Skills

Let them be Little

The longer I live, the less I understand the “rushing,” the “hurriedness,” the “sense of urgency” that accompanies everything we do today. Why the fast lane? Where are we going? What are we racing to? Can’t we slow things down – for our children? Can’t we celebrate the ordinary moments – that, as we know, are anything but ordinary! Can’t we follow the children’s lead in this? And, can we let them be little? Continue reading

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All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

One of the most delightful and inspirational writers about life is Robert Fulghum. He writes with wit and wisdom – you will smile and nod as you read . Enjoy this excerpt from one of his most popular books, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, published in 1989. It begins – “Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there, in the sandbox at preschool.” Enjoy!
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Plotting the Course …

“How do you know when you’ve arrived, if you don’t know where you’re going?”
A good question, particularly for the one-in-charge – the director, the manager, the leader of the organization. But, unfortunately, a question not often asked. Sadly, many of us squander our precious time, energy, and resources spinning our wheels – just going through the motions of dealing with those things that demand our immediate attention. This will get us through the moment and perhaps the day, but there is no real feeling of satisfaction or accomplishment. We feel pushed and pulled in many directions, and no longer in control. Reactive! Playing defense!
There is another way. Continue reading

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Professionalism …

At the beginning of each school year, required reading for my teams of early childhood teachers and supervisors was an article by M. Parker Anderson entitled, “Professionalism: The Missing Ingredient for Excellence in the Workplace.” It was required because, after years of living, working on this planet, and interacting with thousands, I agreed with Ms. Anderson’s assessment that, “professionalism is missing and unaccounted for” in so many places of work. Read on … Continue reading

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Beginnings …

What a gift! To start fresh – to take what I learned from the previous year and add it to my practice. To remember those things that went especially well, and keep them in this year’s repertoire. And, yes, to reflect upon those things that didn’t go as well as I had planned. As I saw it, that was my job as the leader of the program, school, organization – to set the course. And, the best part of beginning is that I could reset the course annually. What I learned is that how I began each school year, each training session, each presentation, each meeting, set the tone for what was to come, and the expectations that we were all to meet or exceed. The beginning was that important!
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Strategic Planning …

It has been said that there are three types of early childhood directors: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. To make things happen, a director must have a strategic plan. Strategic planning is the process of developing and maintaining a strategic fit between the organization and its changing marketing opportunities. It relies on developing a clear company mission, objectives, and goals. Continue reading

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The Effective Director …

In order to open and then manage a child care center, conventional wisdom says that the director must be trustworthy, helpful, friendly, kind, cheerful, thrifty, and brave.
Conventional wisdom also says that the director should be a good planner, evaluator, decision maker, problem solver, conflict resolver, budget keeper, motivator, communicator, trainer, and advocate.
But the most effective directors I have known have other intangible strengths as well. And, they are the true leaders of their programs. Continue reading

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Spring Cleaning …

As directors and leaders of early childhood programs, we entered our field with a profound sense of purpose – to craft an exemplary program; to make a difference in the lives of children; and to build a successful business. Often, as the years go by, we can begin to lose sight of our original goal. We can become consumed with the day-to-day hassles, the minutiae, so much so that survival seems our only course. We are, as they say, “in the weeds.” The big-picture has been lost to micro-management. That’s why it is helpful to periodically step back and reassess where we are heading. Spring is my time for reflection. Sometimes, reflection will reveal to us that we need to make some changes in how we do our work. We need to do some spring cleaning in order to get ourselves back to our original sense of purpose. Here are some thoughts for you to consider: Continue reading

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Giving Feedback … (Part Three)

Preparation, preparation, preparation was, and continues to be, the quality standard of bringing our best to work each day. Leaders who are prepared for the conversation, the solution to the problem, the outcome of the situation, the resolution to the conflict, or managing the performance issue will more easily guide others to a satisfactory outcome.

When you are going to give feedback – either positive or negative – preparation is usually more important than the delivery. If I have prepared well (and have, in my mind, anticipated and planned for the many pitfalls and turns the conversation might take), the delivery will take care of itself. To a confident and competent leader, preparation, preparation, preparation is the key! Continue reading

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Giving Feedback … (Part Two)

If you are the director or supervisor of an organization, undoubtedly you have had to address numerous performance issues. This post continues the topic, Giving Feedback. As you navigate one of the most stressful parts of a supervisor’s job, I hope it will be helpful to you. I address some of the potential pitfalls and some of the successful techniques, and encourage you to start practicing. If you have a tried-and-true strategy for addressing concerns, continue to use it! But, if you are the supervisor who would rather let things go, and hope for the best – instead of confronting a performance issue – then read on, begin with small steps, and try it this way.

Once you begin to address concerns in a timely fashion; once you have a template for shaping your words and conversations; and, once you meet with satisfaction and turn a performance issue around by giving feedback, you will be empowered. It gets easier each time you do it. You still have to prepare, but your delivery becomes more confident, and the results more successful. Continue reading

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