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  • Writer's pictureJack Ritchie

This One Tip Will Immediately Improve Your QIP

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

The QIP is something we get asked about more than any other compliance-related issue. But the simple fact of the matter is that it differs from service to service. And what's even more frustrating is that it differs from assessor to assessor.

As software providers, we're the first to admit that it's not our place to tell you how to do your QIP - we just give you the means to do it how you see fit.

So instead of giving you what we think you'd want to hear, we sought the expertise of Cassandra Button - someone who specialises in the QIP in her business Sprouts Consultancy.

While we spoke about many things that encompass assessment and rating, one thing that cropped up time and time again in relation to the QIP was leadership.

In order to improve the quality of your service, the educators on the floor are integral, and just like any business, the motivation of the team is a huge factor when it comes to performance.

Stop being a manager & start being a leader

ECEC is a unique sector, but there are some fantastic principles to take from CEOs and leaders of more 'traditional' organisations that you can take into your services. No.1 being that a motivated team outperforms an unmotivated one.

Cassandra said, "When we switch from management to leadership, we bring inspiration."

It seems like a simple change, but one that can be hard when you're used to doing things a certain type of way.

According to this article in the Harvard Business Review, the difference between management and leadership is:

"Management consists of controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal. Leadership refers to an individual's ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organisational success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control.

So how do we influence without over-exercising power and control? How do we inspire in an environment that has been lacking inspiration for some time?

Inspire and Be Inspired

Whilst Cassandra focused on the inspiration coming from the leader, she also mentioned that a leader can take inspiration from their team and even the families.

In order to be inspired, we must allow people the freedom to inspire us - and this comes from delegating.

"As a leader, you should be helping other educators grow to be leaders as well, and providing the opportunity to showcase their skills," Cassandra explained. "You can't be an expert in everything, so allowing people who are perhaps better in certain areas is what really makes the team."

Delegating can be hard for a lot of leaders, but starting from a position of trust is something that needs to be done in order to lead.

By giving team members the freedom and opportunities to make the role their own, we're inspiring them to be better, which in turn inspires a leader to serve their team and give them more freedom.

You'd be surprised what your team is capable of in the right environment.

Whilst inspiration starts with the leader, it quickly snowballs and you'll see an increase in productivity and outcomes before you know it.

Allow yourself the freedom to delegate and offer genuine opportunities for educators to inspire you, because those who want to thrive will go above and beyond to do so in the right environment.

Measuring performance

There are two main ways at looking at performance: outcomes and output. Can you guess which one a leader focuses on, and which one a manager focuses on?

Entrepreneur Hamza Khan said in his TED talk 'Stop Managing, Start Leading' that leaders measure outcomes, not outputs.

For most educators, there is a minimum requirement of output needed when it comes to our duty of care, and I'm definitely not saying you should stop educators outputting more than required, but managing someone's workflow and allowing them to be efficient with their outcomes vs. output is key, especially when it comes to the mental and physical wellbeing of your team.

Cassandra also spoke about the output of educators.

"As early childhood educators, we're all outputting constantly, so if you're coming into work half-full, you're in negatives by the end of the day."

And this goes for leaders as well. One of Cassandra's big messages is looking after your own wellbeing so you can come into work and inspire, but looking after your staff is also important.

If you're noticing yourself feeling run-down, give yourself the time to take a day off every now and then, and make sure your team knows that they can do the same - because encouraging an increase in outcomes massively outweighs output.

Be Honest In Your QIP

So we've been honest with ourselves about our leadership skills, taken the time to get to know our team and given them the freedom to make the role their own. How do we now communicate with assessors in our QIP?

Well, you'd probably not be surprised to know that this follows the same theme - honesty.

The Quality Improvement Plan is something that looks at what you do well, what you could be doing better, and what you will work towards. By acting like everything is perfect doesn't make your service look better. It communicates a lack of awareness.

Let's look at how the steps we've taken so far contribute to the QIP...

You've delegated responsibilities and created an inspiring culture in your service, which has (hopefully) led to educators striving to do the job better and make it their own.

In turn, you've freed up time for yourself in order to measure the outcomes of their performance objectively, rather than subjectively measuring your own performance. And on top of that, you've even delegated some of the QIP responsibilities to the rest of your team in order to co-create such an important document for A&R.

Now you have an inspired team performing to the best of their ability, who are offering and receiving honest feedback from other educators. The content in the QIP becomes more relevant to your service and you become more aware of the strengths, weaknesses and goals, which you communicate to assessors.

And that's all the QIP is - an honest reflection of your service.

To find out more about how the QIP, leadership & wellness work together, listen to our podcast with Cassandra here.

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