Examining relational leadership skills in early childhood administrators

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early childhood , leadership , perceived leadership competency , perceived communication competency
Ranfos, Lisa M.
This study seeks to explore early childhood administrators’ perception of their relational leadership skills and any relationship that may exist between these perceived skills and early childhood administrator characteristics, including teacher turnover experienced. The impact that early childhood leaders have on the organizational climate is significant with studies revealing that teachers who leave do so as a result of low pay (Boyd, 2013; Bloom, 2016), but also due to poor leadership (Hanushek & Rivkin, 2007; Muijs et al., 2004; Young, 2000). With turnover rates more than four times those in elementary education (National Academy of Sciences, 2015), this loss has a negative impact on children’s social and emotional outcomes (Howes, Hamilton, & Philipsen, 1998; Whitebook & Belmm, 1999). For teachers to feel successful in their role, they require administrators who create a climate resulting in positive job satisfaction to decrease turnover (Collie & Shapka, 2012; Van der Vyer et al., 2014) which is inclusive of effective communication and shared decision making (Hale-Jinks et al., 2016; Li et al., 2013). Relational competencies are chosen specifically, as leadership is relational, and the interactions that occur impact each individual within the program and their satisfaction with administrators and job satisfaction (Uhl-Bien, 2006). Early childhood administrators, most of whom are promoted for their excellent teaching skills (Kagan & Hallmark, 2001), are not required to have specific leadership training that encompasses all of the duties required of a leader in an early childhood setting (Whitebook, 2014), thereby creating a need for this study.