Aren’t leaders supposed to motivate the team, have the staff firing? Who motivates the motivator? As a principal, you are it, so who or what gets your juices flowing?
I reckon its important to think this one through.
I have a few theories, some ideas and possible answers but I wouldn’t mind your 50c worth, please contribute.
So before you can answer who or what motivates you, you may have to understand where your staff are coming from. The lowest level for staff could be survival mode, they have a job but lots of things are going on, stress comes from every side, they worry about everything, the kids are hard work, they aren’t well organised, the rent is hard to pay, negative mind set, “leadership is doing things to me”. Next comes safety mode, you are a solid teacher, you have job security, no risks, the boss is ok - a bit fickle but ok, mindset steady, leadership is mixed, things are steady. Then you have belonging mode, teamwork, mostly motivated but needing someone to motivate you, enjoying being at school and appreciative but on their own terms, part of a team but sometimes a click, sometimes even teaming up against the boss, but usually this mode is a very positive environment. Probably strolling. After this is achievement mode, I reckon this is the time when you move out of that stoll and fink “strolling” mode, people are motivated to move past and really achieve, teamwork and self motivation, ownership and belonging are inherent, staff are celebrating achievement, genuinely happy for others, collaborative.
You can be achieving at survival mode, and indeed in all of them, but if you want to get results back you must get to achievement mode.
You may ask what this has to do with the motivating the motivator, but it is actually the staff that motivates you. They are the people who get you rocking, they are the ones who boost those around them. I know that I feed off staff who get on a roll, staff who go that extra mile. I pick up their vibe, I love it when they achieve. I love it when they celebrate kids learning, celebrate discoveries they have made. Those stories of kids achieving just keep you bouncing. Yes I am motivated by wanting to do things really well, to turn out the best possible performance. I love working things out and doing a great job of it, seeing it through, but these things pale in comparison to when a staff member nails it. When a staff member gets it, when a staff member makes everyone proud.
So the key for me is to make sure you know what mode your staff are at, and help them get to achieving mode, there may have to be some challenges, some awkward conversations and some uphill battles but if you aren’t motivated then it all goes flat.
So it seems that if you want to be motivated you have to do the motivating, and get staff through those modes and over to achieving.
Most good leaders who stay in their schools are motivated from within their school.
The other muppets who stay (too long) have staff in safety mode, they are in safety mode.