As administrators, our job is to create an atmosphere that promotes high staff morale and high staff performance. No matter how capable your staff is, when morale sags, so does performance.
How can we generate a working environment that promotes high morale and high productivity?
The first step is to realize that, as administrators and directors, your attitudes, actions and decisions affect each one of your staff members in a different manner, and not everyone needs to be supervised in the same way. Your management style should match the learning style of your employees.
Most of your employees will fall into two categories: those requiring a participatory style of leadership, which allows them to be more autonomous, or those who require more direction from the administrator. It is important to know which category each one of your staff members falls into.
The second step is to have realistic and clear-cut policies. Staff need to understand and be trained in the policies and procedures, but, also, understand what the consequences are for breaking policy.
The third step is consistency and follow-through. Your staff will work harder for you if they feel they are getting fair and equal treatment. This will promote continuity and help boost morale among employees. Always do what you say you will do and follow through to check on progress, understanding and completion of each and every delegated task. You will help build morale by answering questions and responding to any strides your employee has made in the situation.
The last step in promoting high morale is to provide constant and positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is an extremely effective tool in clarifying the goals of the project while giving specific acknowledgement for ongoing details of the project or task. Let your employees know where they stand. They will appreciate it. Verbal and written reinforcements are the most effective - there’s nothing nicer than hearing that you are doing a good job or receiving written praise. Give authentic praise immediately after an excellent performance and try to do that in front of others as it enhances the recognition.
Administrators can’t give their employees everything they need all the time, but they can be aware of their needs and show they appreciate their hard work, dedication and professionalism. Administrators should strive to show their employees how important they are to the children, school, parents and, most of all, the employer. Gaining the respect and developing a team spirit will help keep employees in the right frame of mind leading to positive morale. On a day-to-day basis, be consistent, fair, caring, encouraging, recognizing, and trusting with your employees. Get to know your people, meet them where they are and be flexible. You can't buy loyalty, but you can earn it. If you want loyal employees, then treat your people well!
Remember that most employees don’t leave or quit a job, they leave their direct supervisor. Provide an environment that promotes and retains your employees. A bad boss can take a good staff and destroy it, causing the best employees to flee and the remainder to lose all motivation. The key to retention is deeply rooted in engagement. If your employees feel a deep connection to your company, whether professionally or emotionally, it is less likely that they will be tempted to jump ship if a better offer arises.