You don’t need me to tell you that using regular praise has transformational effects on children. Praise is a powerful motivator, it is also an essential and daily element of your staff management tool-box. Its effects are the same, it helps build self-esteem and self-confidence, and can support the achievement of the team-work, and work outcomes you are aiming for.
Motivation is our desire to do things, get things done, or to move. Without it, we stay where we are: in the same role; the same place; the same bed. With motivation, we move into new and challenging roles; embrace new ideas; go to new places; and most importantly get up in the morning! It’s the difference between being late or not turning up at all, and being early for work ready for the day ahead.
We are all motivated differently. What motivates one, will have little effect on another. One thing I have focused on very much over recent months has been the importance of quality leadership. If we trust our leaders, then that can be motivation enough – because they meet our motivational needs. But there is so much more for us to consider, ask yourself and your teams these questions:
- How relevant and worthwhile does your work feel to you and your close friends and family?
- What difference are you making to parents, children and colleagues?
- How is your career taking shape, or what direction is it taking?
- What risks or safety do you want from work?
- How happy are you at work, or what happiness are you creating in others?
All crucial questions for us to consider. And you will notice, little reference to fame, fortune, or attention. Well, this is the early years! Seriously though, finances and status are still important issues for us in this sector.
Saying thank you or giving praise is a full-time job for any manager or leader. Funny that it is the most commonly overlooked and under-estimated ways of motivating people. And it is easy:
- Look for chances to praise all of the time
- Mean it when you do it
- Tailor the praise and the words for the person and the achievement
- Turn negative thoughts into positive actions
- Look people in the eye – connect with them
- Do it in front of others
- Be careful not to create hierarchies or cliques, praise everyone!
- Give praise regularly
- Use a balance of informal and formal opportunities
Sounds sensible doesn’t it? Be honest, how do you score as a praising manager? It’s not too late to change if you’ve been feeling you’re a little too negative or too busy to be the ‘super-praising leader’ you aim to be. So, set your goals and work through the awkward pain barrier, the rewards are there for all. You can be the leader you want to be, and the leader your team wants to trust for their motivation.