Finding motivation to make changes as a leader can be both daunting and exciting — particularly in the summer, traditionally a time of vacation or respite from year-round routines. Play is important for rejuvenation and creativity; whether you’re a leader in a school or another setting, kindling that energy is so important.
Leaders are influential not only for their own strengths — but rather because they are skilled in motivating people to grow their own talents. Leadership can have a ripple effect: in an educational setting, not only teachers and administrators, but student leaders influence the growth, development, motivation and work creativity of learners.
As a PhD candidate in educational administration at the University of Saskatchewan, my research focuses on understanding how motivation works within educational leaders’ and teachers’ performances. Educational leaders must motivate and inspire others to want to accomplish necessary tasks.
Finding motivation to make changes in my own life encouraged my passion for ongoing professional growth and competencies. After a doctorate of business administration and 10 years of facilitation and teaching at Jamaican universities, I came to Saskatchewan to pursue doctoral studies in education.
My encounter with young people and adults from different ethnicities and cultural diversities in all strata of society has been an inspirational force in my life. It has shaped my intellectual and personal connection to motivation as an area of academic inquiry.
Motivation: to move
Motivation is derived from the Latin verb movere, which means to move, thus it is concerned with peoples’ movements and actions, and other factors that determine them. From a broad theoretical standpoint, motivation is measured differently for every individual as people engage in particular actions at appropriate times related to their career or achievement goal or their determination, experiences and esteem. However, the common numerator and denominator is a drive for success.
A person can stay motivated when they know their motives will be accomplished. This can lead them to work harder to achieve dreams and goals.
Researchers study motivation in education perhaps because educators are continually faced with complex challenges of motivating large cohorts of people to engage in particular activities to achieve particular outcomes. A study of teachers in Pakistan’s higher educational public sector institutions concluded that goals can be achieved where there is commitment, internal aspirations and inspiration.
The desire to stay motivated, or to learn how to get motivated, calls for passion, drive and focus. Individuals are motivated differently based on their internal and personal factors — for example, the need for achievement, interest, enjoyment and curiosity. Others are motivated when activities completed by them earn them merit or praise, but fixation on praise is a problem if a person doesn’t understand the relationship between behaviour and outcome.
Leadership at the school level starts with all the educational stakeholders, such as students, parents, principals, teachers, administrators and the community. Transformational leadership is about expanding people’s use of their own abilities and providing them with coaching, mentoring and support.
In my research, I am exploring how transformational leadership is most suitable to bring change in learners and leaders and how researchers can best propose models to capture and understand principals’ effectiveness .
If you are looking at ways to rejuvenate your skills as a leader to motivate your employees or contribute to your team, consider one of these areas:
- Focus on communicating, as employees rely on effective communication for direction on the goals, priorities and values of the organization. Consider that is how an organization distinguishes itself and develops a reputation as a choice employer through how it’s known to grow leadership talents.
- Attend a mentoring, coaching, and professional development short course. The continuity of these factors add value to one’s skills, performance and development.
- Extend emotional intelligence as it brings trust. When leaders show employees that they care, trust and empathise with their situations, it will motivate employee performance and commitment to the organization.
Remember that leadership and the conscious practice of motivation are hallmarks of vital institutions. Make space to renew.