Leadership in Practice
Effective leadership is vital in the education setting as without leaders who are committed towards learning, a high quality learning environment cannot be established. In the context of preschool, there is a very clear difference between a leader and a manager. While a leader provides direction towards achieving a goal and a vision, a manager manages people are resources to ensure that organizational goals are met (Strehmel, 2016). However, a leader is preferred over a manager because leaders are more effective in driving and sustaining change in ways that benefit the most people.
For example, in the preschool context, a leader makes children learning, development and general wellbeing the main focus and gets other people towards achieving this goal (Strehmel, 2016). In contrast, a manager tells teachers what to do and how to do it and this could limit the ability of teachers to enhance the learning, development and wellbeing of the children. A leader is concerned in the welfare of followers and other employees and focuses on building respectful, trusting, nurturing and equitable relationships. In contrast, a manager is only concerned about getting things by assigning duties and controlling employees. It is also common to find leaders in the preschool setting collaboratively creating a community of learners by inspiring others and fostering ideas while managers limit themselves.
However, managers also play an important role in the preschool setting as they help in managing people and resources. Still, managers can aspire to be good leaders as well by changing the way the approach their followers. For example, instead of strictly following rules, managers can identify and eliminate some of the factors or limitations that hold back employees and create opportunities for employees to demonstrate their capabilities. In addition, managers should stop limiting themselves to objectives and should also create their own vision.