The Playcentre rite of passage

Leadership in Playcentre is both wonderful and wonderfully complex. Playcentre provides a multitude of empowering opportunities to take leadership roles and learn new skills. Often all you have to do is put your hand up and you’ll be given the opportunity to have a go. It is this willingness to let people take risks and people’s willingness to take the risks that make Playcentre the formidable organisation that it is. There are many stories of Playcentre people learning to lead in Playcentre and continue to lead in their own communities after Playcentre. Dame Catherine Tizard once famously said ‘I have sometimes told people…  that Playcentre is responsible for my glorious career.’

With this Playcentre leadership rite of passage comes a challenge to ensure that we have a continuous and steady flow of people putting their hands up. We call it emergent leadership. Without a well-oiled emergent leadership machine, gaps can appear. Gaps are not unique to Playcentre though. This report from the Center of Creative Leadership shows that gaps in leadership is a global phenomenon.

Another challenge is the one of leadership competencies. Leadership competencies have three arms to it – leading self, leading others and leading organisations. In Playcentre we have a strong focus on the first two competencies – leading self and leading others. These two competencies will serve most people well at centre level.

However when we move on to taking leadership roles at the association and the federation, we need to add organisational leadership competencies to our leadership kete. If we want to reclaim our rightful place of movers and shakers in Aotearoa, we need to make it our business to learn the organisational leadership competencies to ensure that we not only have a steady flow of leadership competencies, but that we also have a steady flow of the right set of competencies.



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