Individual Advocacy: Empower the Team to Own Their Growth and Development
Some of my biggest coaching Aha! moments happen when I talk to my kids.
Earlier this summer, my son came to my husband with a question that was bothering him. His friend hadn’t been accepted into summer camp, and he wanted to understand why.
My husband answered that, unfortunately, our son’s friend didn’t have anyone to advocate for him.
“What does it mean to ‘advocate’ for someone?” he asked.
My husband explained that advocating for someone helps them get the things they need, usually because they’re unable to do so on their own. It can look like talking to a teacher about homework, buying supplies for a school project, or—in the case of my son’s friend—applying for summer camp.
Without intending to, my husband had provided a crystal clear example of how children differ from adults when it comes to advocacy.
When kids are still growing and learning, they need parents or other adults to advocate for them. Without this support, they can’t get what they need, because they don’t yet have the tools to do so on their own.
But adults are different. Although they may still be growing and learning, adults are capable of accessing the skills and resources necessary to advocate for themselves and others…even if it takes some practice.
That goes for your staff, too.
When you’re running around giving your time and energy to solving all the problems throughout your center, it may feel like you’re doing a good thing—after all, you’ve got the answers and want to keep people happy!
But the reality is that this causes two major issues:
- Leader burnout: Giving 100% of yourself with the expectation that it will make everyone happy and keep them at your center isn’t generosity—it’s emotional horse trading, and it’s exhausting.
- Hindered development: Solving others’ problems for them robs them of the opportunity for self-development, which prevents growth in your center.
In this week’s episode, which is the third of my B.R.I.D.G.E. series about developing critical meta-skills as a 21st century leader, we’re talking all about individual advocacy and how it can transform your center.
By practicing your own advocacy skills and modeling them for your staff, you’ll help them learn to communicate their own needs, solve problems on their own, and develop stronger relationships amongst themselves.
This is a conversation about:
- What individual advocacy looks like
- Why it’s an important meta-skill
- The benefits of helping your staff learn to self-advocate
At the end of the day, YOU are your greatest advocate. With individual advocacy skills, both you and your staff will be more self-aware, balanced, and able to handle whatever life throws at you—whether there’s an SOP in place or not.
Resources and links mentioned in this episode:
Take your first step in practicing self-advocacy by joining our Owner’s Only HQ or Director’s Inner Circle programs. There, you’ll connect with a community of fellow school leaders who have valuable stories, insights, advice, and feedback to offer you as you build your school of excellence.
More about the show:
If you are an Early Childhood director or owner, prepare to transform your school and life with the Schools of Excellence podcast. Tune in each week to learn from Chanie Wilschanski, the founder and host of the Schools of Excellence Podcast and a mom of 4 little kids. Each episode will be packed with tools and strategies – equipping you to build schools with higher staff retention, teacher motivation, parent partnership, collaborative culture, and beautiful quality of life.
Every week, Chanie shares the truth about the journey to excellence, the strategies that are working TODAY, and the mindset about the critical decisions and choices that you make every day which impact yourself, your teachers, parents, family, and children who you serve every day.
In addition to weekly solo episodes, she’ll also be inviting industry leaders and the changing makers of the landscape of education to give listeners the inside knowledge of what it takes to sustain excellence.
Don’t miss an episode, subscribe today for everything you need for your leadership journey!