Have you ever told someone to do something and they either don’t do it or just can’t seem to get it right? Contrary to what you might think, it turns out that a lot of the times that this happens you’re actually the one at fault. “Who, Me?” Often as leaders we know what we want done but have trouble communicating the full idea of it. As a leader of your team, I hope the following four tips can provide you a better sense of direction of not only how to get things done at your center but help ensure that they are being done correctly the first time.
1. Know WHO is on your team.
First you must identify WHO is on your team. Before you can ask them to do something, you must know who you have available to do it. Understanding who are your A players vs. your D players on your team will give you clarity of what they are capable of doing. You wouldn’t give your assistant teacher the responsibility of implementing a new curriculum, however you do know that she has a theater background and might ask her if she would be interested in putting together a spring recital for families. When you can identify the different skill sets that your individual team members bring to the table you will be able to delegate tasks and expectations with ease.
2. Clearly Define WHAT and HOW
Once you know WHO you have on your team and what they are capable of doing you must make sure that WHAT and HOW to do it is clearly defined. Do you have clear policies and procedures for your staff? While it can be time consuming it is worth having strong onboarding and training procedures at your center. They are not at fault for anything if they’ve never been taught WHAT and HOW things are done at your center. The more time and effort you put into their training the less confusion and frustration you will run into down the road. Even after
appropriate training has been done, it is important to review these tasks and have clearly written procedures for them to reference – Operations Manual! It is essential to have an operations manual for anyone working at your center to reference when they are in doubt of how something is to be done at your center. Additionally, they will learn to check the manual first instead of coming to you every time they have a question – or even worse, not doing it at all!
3. Tell Them WHY
To truly reinforce your center’s policies and procedures it is important for you team to understand WHY you do it. Does your team truly understand why you do things a specific way? We are governed by state licensing that often makes centers operate the way they do because of their rules and regulations. How familiar is your team with these guidelines that ensure we
are providing the best care for our children and families? Also, each program is unique and there are procedures that may be needed at your location that a new staff member needs to be aware of, regardless of how many years of experience they have in early childhood. It is your responsibility to verify for understanding of the WHY behind what you do.
4. REWARD Your Team
Lastly and most importantly, REWARD them for doing it! Remember to try to catch them doing something good rather than always being quick to find things that they are doing wrong. It is human nature to look for something wrong, but your team will quickly become demotivated if they are constantly being told what they are doing wrong and never what they are doing right. It is important to give recognition for even the simplest of tasks. Do you have some form of a rewards program at your center for team
members? Whatever rewards program you have in place, remember that it is equally important to give praise in a meaningful way. A $10 gift card to Starbucks for a teacher that has done a great job means very little to them if they don’t like coffee. However, if you know your team and how they like to be praised, a simple hand written thank you note can go much further and is more affordable than buying gift cards for every good deed. I recommend reading The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People by Gary Chapman and Paul White. It is a great book that has helped me understand how to provide praise in more meaning full ways.
To recap – You need to know WHO on your team knows WHAT and HOW to do what you want. If they understand WHY you want it done that way and they get REWARDED for it, it will get done!