Motivation is a vital and largely underestimated knowledge area for schools, but when it exists, it can have profound benefits for the school and its learners. As a leader, being able to motivate your employees is an essential skill that needs to be explored and employed.
I often think back to my time as a pupil in school and think more specifically about the areas I excelled in. Most notably these were the areas that I was keen to do well in – I was motivated to do my best. And why was I motivated? In some cases it was because I enjoyed the subject and wanted to learn more, or I was pretty good at it so enjoyed the accolade, or because the teacher inspired and motivated me and I wanted them to be proud of my efforts. Looking at these reasons more closely unfolds that motivation stems from the desire to learn, from achievement, or from relationships.
Since entering the world of work and developing as a teacher, I continued to be motivated to be my very best. I was keen to grow and learn and took advantage of every opportunity – from my NQT year, coordinating PE and becoming a numeracy trainer (at its launch in 1997), through to gaining my first Headship after only ten years in the profession.
I quickly learnt that in my work environment, I was primarily motivated by growth - to realise my full potential and be all that I could be. This is not to say that I was not motivated by achievement or relationships, but that my work motivations were underpinned by a growth motivator bias.
The power of motivation, however, is that it is not a fixed state. Motivation is very much influenced by situation and mood. This is why understanding what motivates staff, at any given point in their career, is important in ensuring that they are performing to their very best. It is also worth noting, that as motivation is greatly influenced by situation and state of mind, an employee’s motivation can be greatly affected by personal circumstances too, therefore, motivation needs to be revisited on a regular basis.
The benefits for a school having a motivated workforce include:
In the words of Richard Branson “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business.” And taking care of your staff means knowing what they really want and will work hard for.