Managing different teacher personalities

How to Manage Different Personalities at Your Child Care Center

Amongst all the responsibilities that come with running a child care center, one of the most challenging is managing, training and retaining staff.

For two years in a row, The Child Care Benchmark Report has found that labor is the top organizational risk to child care businesses. An analysis of Glassdoor reviews also revealed that the childcare sector has below average employee satisfaction, averaging a 2.3 rating in comparison to the average 3 stars out of 5 stars.

It is clear that childcare administrators are concerned about their staff retention. In spite of this, childcare professionals still feel dissatisfied in their day to day jobs and are leaving their centers and even the sector altogether.

Why Does Job Satisfaction in Child Care Matter?

As we all know, a stable environment is best to facilitate early childhood development. High turnover and stressed out managers are not exactly the key contributors to a positive environment for young children.

How Can We Improve Employee Retention in Child Care?

The first step to being a good manager is to understand that people are motivated differently. Understanding your staff is the first step to supporting their goals . When you’ve established that, you can empower your teachers to develop professionally.

Early Educator Personality Types

We’ll take a look at a few personality types that you’ll find on your team, the best way to motivate and work with them, and the leadership skills to develop that will help you become a better manager.

Ambitious and Independent

This teacher is eager to prove herself and ready to take on challenges. She is likely organized, reliable and is someone who strives for excellence in her daily tasks. It is easy to pinpoint this person in your staff as she is probably working towards a leadership role at the center.

Ambitious teachers can work independently once you have built a rapport of trust. However, due to their strong personality, in some cases, these teachers work better on their own.

A good way to motivate them is to ensure that there is opportunity for growth and more responsibility. Encouraging them to speak their mind during staff meetings and push them to mentor other staff. This is a good way to build their self-confidence and have self-managing teachers on your team to support other teachers.

High Energy but Scattered

There is always that teacher that the kiddos rave to their parents about because her classes are so fun. She may be more spontaneous than organized and thrives in a creative environment.

This is the teacher that is always in a rush and overwhelmed by her workload. While a hard worker, she seems to struggle meeting deadlines and never has enough time to get everything done. She may be a bit scattered in her work flow, but puts in the extra effort to keep up with the team.

To support this teacher, it is important to get to the underlying root of her anxious energy. Have an honest conversation with her and suggest strategies for time management and prioritization.

You might be surprised by how a far some feedback can go!

Effective Introvert

The quiet and nurturing teacher is easily taken for granted, but a great asset to your team. She has probably been with you for a while, understands the team culture, and has enough experience to be a pro at what she does.

Although some introverted teachers aspire towards leadership roles, for the most part, they are comfortable performing their current role well. Quiet, steady and comforting, this teacher is not one to seek attention and public recognition for a job well done.

One thing to be aware of when managing introverts is to establish an environment that allows the free expression of their needs and feelings. In line with her quiet nature, she is unlikely to rock the boat even when there is an issue at hand.

To be a good manager for this personality type is to check in from time to time. Giving praise and feedback during team reviews is also a good way to get a sense of what they are feeling and thinking!

Opinionated and Intense

There is always a teacher or two that can be tricky to manage. She can have her own perception of how to do things, or can also be very opinionated about the things that she doesn’t agree with.

Combative at times, this is usually the most difficult personality type to work with for managers. They may argue or gossip (yes, we have all been there) when unsatisfied. Although the behavior may seem irrational, it is a leader’s responsibility to understand why the person is acting out and assess the situation to see if there is an opportunity for conversation.

Negativity is, for the most part, a red flag for some fundamental dissatisfaction. Sit them aside and have an open conversation about their behavior. Listen to them without bias and offer solutions to the root problem.

It may be that their behavior is driven by poor environment or management, and the person may let you know techniques that will work best for them. Once you’ve established the core issue, work on a plan to improve the situation.

Giving your team a voice and autonomy helps to build confidence and get everyone on the same page!

Leadership Skills

To be a Director that teachers can look to for support and trust requires some reflection on your own personality. In line with that, sticking to some core principles can help work that leadership muscle!

Be consistent with your goals

Keeping your goals consistent is very important for aligning every single member of your team. By stating a clear vision for your center, you can ensure that all your teachers are working towards the same goal. This will minimize internal conflict and help motivate the entire team.   

Build trust and autonomy

Being a leader does not mean dictating the actions of your team. A good leader builds up the people around them in order to have independent thinkers and problem solvers on your team. When teachers are able to flourish in their own classrooms, they will create a stable environment for the kiddos and the families that they are working with. This improves your ability to grow and improve the quality of your program.

Walk the talk

This may sound cliche, but the best way to earn the respect and trust of teachers is to lead by example. Taking the initiative to create an environment of transparency and supportiveness will pay off in the long run by motivating your staff to work in the same mindset.


What are some other personality types that you’ve encountered working at your child care center? Do you have tips to share with your community of child care providers? We’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment below and share this with someone that this article might be helpful for.

managing different personalities of early childhood educators

Carmen Choi

Carmen is the Marketing Coordinator and Preschool Podcast Manager on the HiMama team. She's been working with childcare business owners and consultants for 3 years. She is passionate making connections that empower the ECE Community through knowledge-sharing to support better outcomes for children, their families, and society!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *