The relationship between role perceptions and leadership attitudes and practice in child care centres

Year: 1994

Author: Clyde, Margaret

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Preliminary investigations carried out by Rodd and Clyde (1992) on a sample of Victorian child care directors indicate that Australian caregivers do not respond positively to the traditional descriptions which characterise leadership. This may be due to the fact that the role of child care director is a female role whereas the leadership profiles have been developed from a male-oriented perspective and may not be perceived as appropriate for women. Kinney (1992) has developed a list of characteristics that better describe female leadership behaviour: these descriptors have been incorporated into a new protocol trialled on 50 directors of child care centres in Victoria. In addition each director has been interviewed to ascertain their perceptions of the leadership role and the skills necessary to fulfil this role.

Preliminary results indicate that child care directors have a concept of leadership and the skills involved in leadership which reflect the kind of centre they operate in (public or private) and their length of experience in the child care field.

These results have strong ramifications for the kinds of training, both preservice and inservice, offered to leaders in the child care field, and the need to develop innovatory techniques in order to assist directors to "marry" their perceptions of the kinds of skills needed to implement their role.