Are you a good Director? The answer will, of course, depend on who you ask. The major stakeholders here, who decide whether a Director is “good” or not, are the teachers, parents, owners, and children. If all four are asked the question whether or not you are a good Director, and all four say, “YES!”, then you are probably not a good Director – you are a great Director. It is challenging, but very possible, to please all four.
From teacher’s aides’/teachers’ perspective, a good Director is one that supports them in their continuing endeavor to teach their children to the best of their ability. Supporting means being able to give teachers the resources needed to do their job well. Supporting means to provide timely and appropriate positive feedback when teachers do a good job. Supporting means being an advocate for them to the owner and the outside world. Supporting means to fairly apply the rules of the center to all teachers at all times and not play favorites.
From the parent’s perspective, a good Director is one that is organized and keeps the center running smoothly. Parents don’t want to deal with “lost” folders, files, forms, etc. Parents don’t want to hear “I don’t really know what happened” when they see a big bite or scratch on their child’s arm. Parents want to walk into a clean center with a nice smell. Parents want to know that their child learnt something that day and the Director needs to make sure that there is a mechanism in place to communicate that. Most of all, parents don’t like surprises. Directors need to have an efficient and reliable process in place that informs parents, before they come to pick up their children, of anything out of the ordinary that the child may have experienced (fever, bites, fall, etc.). Last, but not least, parents expect Directors to resolve conflicts and complaints as quickly and as effectively as possible.
From the owner’s perspective, a good Director is one that runs the center in such a way that if the Owner disappeared for six months and then came back, he/she would see the center running exactly like, or better than, it was six months ago. That means that all processes put in place, all rules, all regulations, all mandates, are followed exactly like they were intended to. All too often, something untoward happens, there is a meeting, a rule or process is put in place to prevent the same untoward event, and then one month later, nobody is following the rule. And guess what, the same untoward event happens again…and the cycle continues. This should not happen. A good Director is also one that can be creative within the budget allotted and make things happen…within reason of course – a Director is not a magician. A good Director is one that keeps the owner informed of events and occurrences. A good Director will determine early on how much information the owner wants – some like all the details and some like just the big picture. A good Director will maintain cordial and productive relations with entities outside the center – such as local elementary school, licensing authorities, accreditation agencies, neighboring businesses, etc. Lastly, a Director will keep a tight rein on expenses and try to think of what would be the most economical way to accomplish any given task well.
In summary, being a Director is a challenging job as many stakeholders are watching and evaluating. It is, however, a very rewarding job when the center flourishes, the children learn, the parents are delighted, and then at the end of the year the Director gets a healthy bonus!