How do you motivate your staff?
Professional pep rallies? Cash incentives? Promising to shave your head if staff meet their growth goals?
No, no, and no.
What really helps engage people in their work is…
- Being good at their work
- Getting the opportunity to do the work they find rewarding.
So if we want to motivate our staff, the best way is by helping them grow, and capitalizing on this growth within our schools. The Learning from Leadership study says:
The primary aim of these practices [for developing people] is capacity building, understood to include not only of the knowledge and skills staff members need to accomplish organizational goals but also the disposition staff members need to persist in applying those knowledge and skills.
One critically important disposition is individual teacher efficacy—also a source of motivation in Bandura’s (1986) model. People are motivated by what they are good at. And mastery experiences, according to Bandura, are the most powerful sources of efficacy.
Building capacity that leads to a sense of mastery is therefore highly motivational.
The organizational setting in which people work shapes much of what they do. There is little to be gained by increasing peoples‘ motivation and capacity if working conditions will not allow their effective application.
According to Bandura‘s (1986) model, people‘s beliefs about their situation form a source of motivation; people are motivated when they believe the circumstances in which they find themselves are conducive to accomplishing the goals they hold to be personally important.
—Learning From Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning, from the Wallace Foundation Knowledge Center, by Karen Seashore Louis, Kenneth Leithwood, Kyla L. Wahlstrom, and Stephen E. Anderson, p. 68-69 (emphasis added)
When people get better, they also get more motivated. That’s pretty good news, isn’t it?