Dream More, Learn More, Do More, Become More

by Janet Moore

August 10, 2015


Editor’s Note: Running an early care and education program is a big job. It’s not one you have to do alone. Collaborations and partnerships to help you improve the quality of your program for the children and families you serve can be found in numerous places. During the next few weeks, the McCormick Center will publish blogs that offer suggestions and resources for improving your partnerships with families, external organizations, and staff.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. — John Quincy Adams

As the former director of a child care center, I inherited a disconnected staff. They came to work every day because of their love for the children, but they were not committed to the program’s vision; they didn’t even know the vision. They worked side-by-side with their coworkers, but there was no cohesiveness among them. After months of strategic planning, I learned that inspiring others to dream while they learn will invoke them to work well together and ultimately grow!

How do we inspire emerging leaders to learn and work together toward a shared vision?

That is the million dollar question that many in leadership roles have asked themselves. There are several answers, but, through research, dialogue, and eventually trial-and-error, I have learned a few strategies that lay the foundation for inspiring a collaborative team of emerging leaders.

A team is expected to work together, get the job done, and produce results, but collaboration is hindered when team members do not work well together. Collaboration is also hindered when the leader’s actions do not inspire others. A collaborative team works together through idea-sharing and thinking toward a common goal. Collaboration is essential to team success and inspiring collaboration is essential to the success of a collaborative team.

Dream more
A collaborative team shares a common goal and vision. They share core beliefs and values. Creating an environment that allows team members to dream entails the leader sharing his/her own vision for the team. This will elicit members to think about their roles, share their dreams, and express their commitment. Dreaming will build a community of trust and ultimately prioritize team actions.

Learn to trust more
Learn as much as you can from your team. Team members must trust each other if they are going to share their dreams and express their commitment. The trust begins with the leader first trusting the team. Be honest. Work to eliminate conflict and give each team member the benefit of the doubt. Trust is the foundation for a collaborative environment and paves the way to ongoing learning.

Do more
Take responsibility for being heard and understood. Recognize team members’ efforts by working alongside your team and ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Seeking to understand everyone’s perspective will empower team members. When we lead by example we breed a community of collaboration and growth.

Become more
When leaders share their vision, encourage trust, and openly communicate, they inspire the team to share goals, learn more about each other and themselves, and prioritize the team’s actions. When a leader dreams, learns, and does more, they inspire their team to become more! 

Here are some more resources that can provide insight into this topic:

How have you inspired emerging leaders to dream, learn, do, and become more?

Janet is an Assessor and Training Specialist with the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University. She holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Administration. Prior to working at the McCormick Center, Janet worked as an early childhood teacher, executive director of an early childhood program, and education consultant.

22 Responses to “Dream More, Learn More, Do More, Become More”

  1. Jeremiah Wright says:

    This is a very helpful piece and a “must read” for child care givers and early childhood educators!

  2. Vasilya says:

    Hi Janet,

    Great blog post! Are there any other book resources that you would recommend? I’m familiar with the ones listed. Thanks! 🙂

  3. Janet Moore says:

    Thank you for your kind comments.

    Additional book resources that I would recommend would be:

    “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”
    by Marshall Goldsmith

    “FYI For Your Improvement”
    by Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger

  4. Melody Morgan says:

    The strategies you list are certainly brilliant for child care givers and early childhood educators, but also transfer to any organization where collaboration is required. Thank you Janet for your inspired insight!

  5. Ruth Hawley-Lowry says:

    This is a great reminder of leadership–not only for early education, but for all team-building. “When leaders share their vision, encourage trust, and openly communicate, they inspire the team to share goals, learn more about each other and themselves, and prioritize the team’s actions.” Trust is such a pivotal foundation in the midst of sharing and working together. Thanks for this piece–sharing!

  6. This is such an exciting development. I am “in” as a regular follower. I can hardly wait until the next edition. This is a job well done!!

  7. Vernessa Gipson says:

    A woman I admire Rev. Dr. Joan Parrott had a favorite quote that frequent used with staff; “it takes teamwork to make the dreamwork. Share the dream.”

  8. Georgette L Greenlee says:

    I loved the article and believe that the tips are transferable to other vocations where high performance teams are necessary. Thank you for connecting the dots in such a pragmatic manner for anyone who is in management and wants to see results.

  9. MJ Scott says:

    Hi Janet. This is a very insightful blog. As an Information Technology Project Manager I am always looking for new techniques forcteam building. I am going to incorporate the strategies you documented.

  10. K. Poindexter says:

    Excellent article!

  11. Simone R. Harris says:

    EXCELLENT!! Your blog should be used in all CPS staff development sessions!

  12. Sara Beach says:

    janet, Great blog! Wish I had known all of that when I was a center director! The hardest part is making the time for staff to collaborate. But when you have a common mission and vision, like you said, it inspires everyone to want to try!

  13. Chip Johnson says:

    Excellent advice and guidance for aspiring and emerging leaders of teams and/or networks. Leadership is the key element to establishing sound, consistent, and sustainable actions that produce effective and successful outcomes from teams whose leaders allow them the flexibility to grow in building their own professional capacity within their skill set. This is accomplished through sound leadership and consistent collaborative opportunities that maximize growth and produce greater results internally.

  14. Hope says:

    As an early childhood mentor we must mirror the images of leadership to others directors that we wish to see in a way that we don’t break or shatter their strengths within. Great article.

  15. Maurice S. Chapman says:

    Great article! I am sharing this with my staff…

  16. Kimberly Garrett says:

    Invaluable, salient information suitable for many settings! Thank you for sharing your expertise and insight! Well done!

  17. Kim Dulaney says:

    Great post! The core or what is noted here is applicable to families, clubs, and basically any collective of people. This is a must share 🙂 !

  18. Janet Moore says:

    Thank you ALL for your comments. I agree that the strategies apply to all — families, clubs, schools, businesses, and any collective people. As I read all your kind, brilliant and insightful comments, I was reminded of “Ubuntu” which can apply to the subject of leadership and this discussion…..”I am because YOU are!”

  19. Carol Wooten McDaniel says:

    A must read for all educators! If I had known 34 years ago what was discussed in your blog, I would have been an even more successful teacher. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Joan Suflita says:

    Creating a community of learners with a shared vision and common goals is a true investment. No doubt the time spent with this investment will yield a rich reward for children, parents and caregivers. Without a shared vision, there is a lot of confusion as to what is being done, how to do it and why. I would like to share this blog posting with a group of center directors as we reflect on practices leading toward increased quality at each site. Thank you and I look forward to additional posts.

  21. Carla Carroll says:

    Thanks Janet for your sharing your strategies on Collaboration. I will be presenting to young ladies entering the workforce about “Teamwork and Collaboration”. I think your thoughts on collaboration will be applicable to them as well.


  22. Janet Moore says:

    34 years as an educator is such a tremendous accomplishment @ Carol. I am sure you applied these strategies in your work!

    I am ecstatic that the strategies have inspired you to share with center directors as well as young ladies entering the workforce @Joan and @Carla. I believe they will benefit greatly from them!