chapter  2
49 Pages

Holding the baby

Leadership that inspires and contains ambition and anxiety
ByKaren John

This chapter focuses on 'holding the baby', namely what it takes to survive intact the challenges inherent in democratizing early years leadership and provision, keeping the baby safe and thriving. It understands and appreciates the purposes of their own and others' feelings and behaviours. The chapter applies democratic principles of authoritative/democratic rather than autocratic/authoritarian or permissive/laissez-faire structures, being leaders of leaders, inspiring, containing, encouraging and nurturing, rather than controlling, restraining, rewarding, threatening and blaming. It shares power and encourage initiative, responsibility, leadership and creativity in everyone The chapter discusses potentially toxic emotions and strategies, notably, anxiety, hostility, negative projections, envy and discouragement, which are associated with constant change, uncertainty, demands and pressure from above and below. It demonstrates how a leader's confidence and good authority were undermined and proved difficult to sustain in the absence of governmental, societal or local commitment to egalitarian values and action.