Motivation Secrets of Great Department Leaders

Great Department Leaders know how to motivate others. Since the amount you can accomplish on your own is limited, it’s necessary to have the assistance of others. Someone that can motivate others to do their best has an incredibly valuable talent. When you can inspire others, you can accomplish much more.

Motivate others to do their best:

  • Be emotionally supportive. To help others shine, removing the fear of failing or looking foolish is critical. Most people are frozen by fear and prefer to remain comfortable. When fear is greater than motivation, nothing happens. Removing fear can be just as effective as instilling additional motivation.
  • Provide additional support. Ask what resources are required. Does your team require additional help or funds to get a project off the ground? Determine what resources are required for success and provide them.
  • Follow up regularly. Show that you care by monitoring their progress. It’s enough to ask and then listen. Asking questions will also help to keep them on track.
  • Be publically supportive. It’s one thing to support a member of your department during a meeting. It’s quite another to be supportive in front of the entire school or the community..
  • Acknowledge and reward. Acknowledge progress and effort regularly. Everyone needs a little boost now and then. Ideally, give acknowledgement publicly. Conversely, your disgruntlement and any discipline should be handled privately. It’s as simple as handling praise and reprimands most effectively.
  • Ask for ideas. You might hear a few ideas that are better than your own. It’s easier for others to get excited about their own ideas than to get excited about yours. Using ideas from your team will create a sense of purpose and involvement.
  • Be clear. Vagueness breeds confusion. Confusion saps enthusiasm. When the objective and the necessary steps are clear, motivation is easier to generate. Ensure that everyone is clear on their roles.
  • Set a good example. If it’s important to you, it will be important to rest of your department. Don’t just tell them it’s important, but show them by your behavior. Make the objective a priority.
  • Create a vision. Paint a picture of the end result in the minds of those involved. The work is rarely enjoyable, but it’s the end result that matters. Keep reminding everyone of how great things will be when it’s over. The work is the path to reach that endpoint.
  • Deal swiftly with dissenters. It only takes one dissenting, charismatic team member to bring the whole thing crashing down. There’s often one complainer that tries to undermine the enthusiasm of everyone else. Don’t underestimate the damage this one person can do. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with them and move forward.
  • Motivation isn’t just about adding positive motivation. It’s also about removing the obstacles. Dissenters are obstacles.

  • Encourage the sharing of opinions. However, once a decision has been made, expect cooperation.

Encourage others to do their best work. Motivating others is a skill that anyone can develop. You can only be as successful as your team. Avoid the belief that you can do it all alone.

It takes a collaborative effort from everyone to provide the best service for young people.

Vondre' T. Whaley is a veteran educator, who currently serves as a principal of a great high school. He is also founder and Chief Visionary of the Department Leaders Network.

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