Monday, May 30, 2011

Who motivates the motivator?

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.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

15 Reasons Why Leadership Works

Looking back always helps looking forward. Last November we attended the ACEL conference in Sydney. Apart from the odd laugh and ale the focus was on leadership. I hung out for something decent and Hargreaves delivered at the last minute. I was a little disappointed in the conf up until then, but our redemption was gr8.
He has now published the whole presentation "Performing Beyond Expectations"and you guys can read, so click on the link above for the facts and stuff like that. Its important that you read from the source at some stage. It's a real goodie. If you want the executive summary with the half truths thrown in for free then i've attached my very boring notes, they have attached audio files which you wont get (pay for the conference you slackers), you just get the scribbled notes:
What was great was, he followed what made good leadership change looked like and then gave this gem.
1 Speed
2 Replacement
3 Data / Numbers
4 Prescription / Standardisation
5 Competition

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

3 show stoppers

1 Sandwich Chillers, you know the obligatory steel food cabinet.
2 The "tuck", the "Jerry Seinfeld", the man with the shirt tucked in.
3 Don Brash and his ungainly gait, yes his walk.

Sandwiches, lets get to the nitty gritty here. Bread is a nice wrapper, it sits in a bag for a few days without going stale, it can be heated to make warm welcoming toast, or it can wrap those lovely fillings and hold together a very satisfying lunch. Thats two states of niceness, warm or room temperature. When EVER is it ok to eat cold or chilled bread. It's downright wrong. So why do we have to buy our sandwiches from coffee shops etc from those bloody chillers. What happened to those veneer coated sandwich racks, with the plastic doors that you opened, and you used the tongs to put your selected treat on your own plate. These sandwiches were especially a treat as a kid when on the top floor of the Farmers building. Oh the selections were endless, salad sandwiches which specialised in iceburg lettuce, cheese and onion, egg with parsley. The real clanger for me was that the ladies who made these culinary delights did so with love in their hearts and fags in their mouths, and not within a bulls roar of a chilled cabinet. Harden up New Zealand, bring back the veneer.

So Greg Norman did it, Jerry Seinfeld specialised in it, and now men who really should have learnt from the 80's are still doing it. It's not OK, its downright not on. I don't care what the excuse is, the tuck is the tuck, stop it right now.

Ok so why is Dons gait such a show stopper. Well firstly he walks upright, OK thats fine but when he turns to address others he has the stiff neck, and then he has that sort of protruding foot gait where the foot isn't sure if there will be ground under it as it's about to land. When you add the turning stiff body and the unsure stride, its all over. Did anyone see him get in and out of the midget a few years back. Sorry Don it's all over, put the slippers on and get a blanket over the knees, find the lazy boy and take the 430pm Nursery Dinners.

Life cant go on while society accepts this sort of behaviour.