This paper will critically analyse the Trait and Distributed early childhood leadership theories and will discuss how a manager could adopt these theories in meeting targets set for improvement in the local day care.
Trait theory states that people, leaders have different qualities and personality characteristics that differentiate them from the followers (Stogdill, 1998 & Mann, 1959). Bennis (1998) suggested that strong leaders know what they want and how to communicate and gain cooperation (Whalley & Allen, 2011). One of the limitations is the Trait theory concerns their apparent ‘maleness’ (Rodd, 2006). Other limitations include the theory does not consider behaviour of leaders, only their attributes. It suggests that traits are innate rather than learned (Whalley & Allen, 2011).
Besides the limitations, this theory can be adopted by the manager of the day care provider to meet targets set for improvement by harnessing the personal characteristics they possess. These characteristics include motivation, good communication skills, personality, patience and power building. This will help to maintain good relationship with parents and utilize individual strengths to meet any target set (Daly et al., 2009).
The management of the day care provider requires skills and knowledge to lead and support the staff team. The management must continue to provide resources to ensure the smooth running of the setting. They should work in partnership with parents, liaise with external agencies, and ensure that relevant policies, procedures and records are maintained. In addition, they must provide a safe, secure and stimulating environment for the children to meet the standards. If the manager possesses the characteristic of good communication skills, it will be an effective tool in promoting the pre-school and helping them to meet the set targets.
Furthermore, managers cannot tackle all leadership jobs alone. They need to motivate the staff so they can do their jobs and work towards the target set for improvement. The manager must be able to build and lead the staff team and cope with day-to-day management issues (Jameson and Watson, 1998, p.67). If managers have the traits of power networking, with good linkages with the staff, then the staff will help the manager and assist to meet the targets for improvement.
In early childhood context, Distributed leadership is achieved when multiple members within the organization assert interactive influences. It is not only sharing the responsibilities or tasks but there is a deeper level of Interaction between members working towards a common goal (Whalley & Allen, 2011). Therefore, training for staff is essential to provide the relevant knowledge and skills for leadership roles in early years (Whalley & Allen, 2011).
In distributed leadership there can be more than one person leading, based on their knowledge based expertise. For example, in the above day care situation for improvement, the open window which...