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When Directors Lose their Way

by Margie Carter
January/February 2011
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/when-directors-lose-their-way/5019738/

Work, like marriage, is a place you can lose yourself more easily, perhaps, than finding yourself. It is a place full of powerful undercurrents, a place to find ourselves, but also, a place to drown, losing all sense of our own voice, our own contribution and conversation.
(David Whyte, 2009)

Directors of early childhood programs are an amazing lot! I typically see so much dedication, such hard work and creative problem solving. But then that inevitable undertow of deadlines, crises, and illness begins to suck you down. Before long, you’re drowning, and with crisis management becoming a way of life, you don’t even recognize your vital signs slipping away.

I encounter different symptoms of this condition when I walk into a center. Sometimes the director is so overwhelmed that the overall culture of the program is one of stress and irritability. Other directors handle the strain by emotionally, if not physically, withdrawing from the culture of demoralization. Either way, the undercurrents of negativity and resignation don’t speak of a healthy organization. The director still appears dedicated, but has lost his or her way, barely managing and certainly not leading.

I first discovered the work of David Whyte when researching leadership models and organizational ...

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