This year I dove head on into managing the day-to-day operations of the child care center at Harrah Church. Prior to the I had simply hired and mentored our center directors, reviewed financials, helped negotiate issues between the church and the child care center, and occasionally took meeting with disgruntled parents or employees. I had no idea the load that our director had to bear day-to-day. This is the toughest church job I have ever had. There are 35-40 full-time employees at the center and over 140 children at this point. My day starts around 7:30am and I am usually leaving the center by 6:30pm Monday through Friday. This year has really cemented for me several key leadership practices.
- You have to learn to delegate…and I mean really give things away. Once you give it away do not field the related matters. Send those over to the person you delegated the matter to. The biggest things that I have delegated to other staff are the weekly schedule, classroom observations, and ordering the food. I check in weekly with the people I delegated these items to but only in an effort to answer their questions about how they can win at what they are doing and to give them metrics to aim at.
- Always make time for people. There are two doors to my office and they are always open. Some of the best leadership conversation come when I haven’t set aside time for them. Parents love hearing me welcome them and frequently step into the office to talk about funny things their kids are doing at home. When I have made time for people and talked about what is happening in their life they understand that I care about them.
- Spend more time planning and organizing your work. “No battle plan every survives contact with the enemy.” I really love organizing things. My most visited store recently has been Staples. Childcare involves a tremendous amount of paperwork, record-keeping, teacher evaluation, constant re-evaluation of your systems, and making sure that everyone is operating according to regulations, rules, and policies. One lapse in any number of areas can result in a non-compliance on our public record or something far worse. It is better to have a plan that you can adapt.