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leading community based children's services

An introduction to leading and managing community based children's projects (created as an introduction to a distance learning undergraduate degree programme on which I teach - it needs editing and a voiceover!!)
by

ian robson

on 22 July 2010

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Transcript of leading community based children's services

Leading and Managing Community initiatives for Children perspectives leading teams leadership development leading integration and partnership ethics leading learning characteristics of community based provision contexts value based? flatter heirachy? impossible to generalise! elements of coproduction and collaboration? removed from 'establishment'? trait transformational transactional charismatic systems perspective situational politics and policy perspectives historical perspectives community activism (New) Labour centre right politics learning from personal stories Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences interpersonal skills intra-personal skills stages of leadership development? 'community interventions' are claimed as important by all political parties - but consider their different perspectives and rationalles... marxist and socialist roots of community organising 'Every Child Matters' civic society "big society" Jillian Rodd's (1997) research into experiences of early childhood leaders unprepared reluctance to 'step up' defining leadership as a 'position' rather than something we can all do limits opportunities for development of new leaders.. 'traditional' training did not prepare leaders for some of their roles (what's changed?) facing challenges financial planning and sustainability monitoring and evaluation staff and volunteer support and development influencing across boundaries (of all kinds) multiple 'languages' and accountabilities leading the safeguarding agenda improving quality being an advocate for children, young people, families and communities being a passionate advocate of learning and development for children ...and their families leading practice based research ...supporting a culture of enquiry and learning supporting professional development of self and others in a rapidly changing environment competing demands? responsible and accountable... to families and communities to powerful 'others' when does need to promote sustainability change social project into a 'hard headed' business? issues of personal morality, ethics and behaviour modeling - words are cheap? Think about...Albert Bandura and social learning? are some leadership and management 'styles' more ethical than others? transformational, participative, democratic vs. charismatic, authoritative, transactional? not all leadership and management is about 'commanding' those who a) you directly employ and line manage, b) work in the same building as you and c) are from the same professional background! being an 'influencer' of networks, partnerships, working groups and so on to get your core mission done 'boundary spanner' -
bridge into and between different disciplines to join up the system requires good working knowledge of others' professional worlds to be recieved as authentic and 'accepted' less 'expert in everything' and more about skills of articulating problems and solutions, facilitating and so on! leader / manager not removed from the reality of practice (think of a preschool leader, for example) - everyone needed. opportunity to model good practice and appreciate reality of work challenge of shaping / articulating a shared vision, mission and purpose in a multi professional environment balancing, integrating or negotiating between different perspectives: same words mean different things to different people.. Research: associations with ‘teamwork’
- Pursuit of common philosophy, ideals and values
- Commitment to working through issues
- Open and honest communication
- Access to a support system
(Rodd, 2008, p149)
Types of management and supervision structures for teams:
- profession managed
- single manager
- joint manager
- team manager – contracted
- hybrid.
(Aubrey, 2007, p94)
- Identifying and articulating a collective vision
- ensuring shared understandings, meanings and goals
- effective communication
- encouraging reflection
- monitoring and accessing practice
- commitment to ongoing, professional development
- distributed leadership
- building a learning community and team culture
- encouraging and facilitating parent and community partnerships
Tasks of leadership? Effective Leadership in the early years (ELEYS) study personal attributes - 'born, not made'? visionary, change focused, ethically based reward and punishment focused, getting results motivational, personality led focus on wider system, not individual: role as enabler, facilitator focus on using appropriate skill sets for circumstances relating to others self awareness structured reflection managing own emotions What's different about leading integrated services, partnerships and networks?

- New approaches to service delivery (influence of programme management and community development approaches).

- More points of external reference (EYPS, ECM guidance, Children’s Trust role, partnerships).

- New types of complex organisation (distributed, matrix, virtual).
Characteristics of an inter-professional leader facilitating interaction processes
providing resources
relating to formal networks
dealing with everyday activities
establishing communication channels

(Willumsen, 2006)
‘positions that link two or more systems whose goals and expectations are at least partially conflicting’ (Steadman, 1992, cited in Peck and Dickinson, 2008, p6)
associated with transformational / charismatic leadership model
involved in day to day workings of a partnership
networking skills, cultivates interpersonal relationships, political skills, flexible and entrepreneurial thinker, values contact with ‘others’

(Peck and Dickinson, 2008; Sullivan and Skelcher, 2002)
Partnerships with parents / carers:
competencies? Agreeing definitions, offer of services, eligibility
Power dynamics and empowerment
Developing a culture of openness and partnership
Dealing with dispute, conflict or complaint
Setting expectations in the setting(s)
"Sense Making" Recognises construction of personal and organisational identity
Reflective – making sense of past experiences
Recognises people produce part of the environment and organisation
Sense making is something we do with others
Sense making is ongoing
Sense making is based on ‘cues’: an issue, interaction or moment can lead us to say ‘why?’ or ‘what?’.
Sense making focuses on knowing enough, but perfect detail not needed.

(adapted from Weick (1995) cited in Hardacre and Peck, 2005)
“A review conducted over a decade ago by Cuban (1988) identified; ‘more than 350 definitions of leadership, but no clear and unequivocal understanding as to what distinguishes leaders from non-leaders’ (190). Today the number of definitions has increased and Ciulla (2003, as cited in MacNeill et al., 2003) has tracked the changes in definitions from the early 40s to the 90s and found a shift from the hierarchical vision of leader towards a more interdependent relationship between the leader and the led (3). This view of leadership, as collaborative and interdependent rather than hierarchical, is one that links well with the current view of leadership that is emerging from the early years sector (e.g. Rodd, 1998/2005).”

Siraj-Blatchford et al (2006) Effective Leadership in the Early Years Study, IoE, p14.
Leadership as a dynamic activity:

setting and clarifying goals
dealing with roles and responsibilities,
collecting information and planning,
making decisions, involving and communicating.

(Rodd, 2008 (3rd Ed), p12) questions who are these people?
what do they do?
what skills, qualities and characteristics do they have?
what challenges do they face?
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