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Mel Gravely

The Emerging Leadership Institute

knowledge_managementYvette Dobbs, the Head Start Management Expert at The Gravely Group, presented at the 41th National Head Start Association Conference on the Emerging Leadership Institute. Here is an excerpt from an important handout from that session:

The Emerging Leadership Institute (ELI Program) is a staff development program to encourage staff to be leaders in their Head Start Programs. 30% of young staff leaves Head Start programs only after 3 years of service. We find this situation is due to direct competition with other preschool programs and non-profits. Head Start devotes a great deal training dollars to staff development each year.

Consequently, how do we see an actual return on investment with staff development? ELI encourages as well as cultivates staff that has a vested interest in Head Start. ELI fosters relationships with staff who want to capture Head Start’s rich history but understand the need for dramatic change in this era of transition.

Here are some suggestions on how you can become a better leader in your Head Start program:

Don’t micromanage.
Empower the people below you, and then leave them alone. A good part of leadership is stepping back

When people err, don’t destroy them.
But make sure they learn whatever lessons there are to be learned from their mistakes.

Show compassion.
Develop strong interpersonal relationships at work, so your employees have some meaning attached to the work they are doing.

Vow to be constantly learning and curious.
Take risks and ask yourself, “What is it that I don’t know that I should know? How do I learn it and test it out in situations that are not necessarily safe?”

Know yourself.
Just like you can’t start a weight-loss program without getting on a scale, you must begin your journey by learning the truth about yourself. Know what kind of leader you truly are before developing your leadership team.

Be laser-focused.
Stick to one goal at a time. Leaders often choose too many development goals. Give yourself the greatest chance for victory by developing one thing at a time. It is far better to make progress in one area than to make little or none in five.

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