Tapping into the source of teacher motivation is a job that is not easy to do, yet today’s school leader must figure a way to do so, for in accomplishing this task he will pave the path for success in the school environment in which he leads. The school leader must motivate teachers through his style of leadership, the way he implements change, his strategy for planning, as well as in areas of student achievement and school learning environment. The school leader will either motivate teachers to do their jobs effectively or he will motivate them to sit on the sidelines and produce mediocre work. It is up to the school leader to decide which motivation source he will thus tap and help grow.
An effective school leader will first establish a relationship of trust, respect, and that of personal regard for his teachers. Teachers are motivated to work for someone whom they perceive to have a genuine concern for their needs, ideas, and opinions, thus an effective leader will make teachers feel as though their opinions and ideas are valuable in creating a successful school environment. The style of leadership that will motivate teachers is that which contains collaboration, communication, and commitment to meeting teacher needs. Effective school leaders will seek to have an open dialogue in which they communicate with teachers and ask for their input as how to implement the vision for the school. By asking teachers for their input, the school leader exhibits a style of leadership that motivates his teachers to want to work with him, not against him, as they strive to help achieve student success.
When it comes to strategic planning, an effective school leader will create teacher motivation by adhering to the organizational culture that already exists within the school. He will acknowledge the importance of the values, beliefs, and historic influences of past leaders who have helped shaped the culture of the school. Furthermore, the school leader will involve teachers in helping to plan for the needs of the school in terms of creating the vision for the school and how they will meet the needs of students. In terms of student achievement, a wise school leader will motivate teachers by rewarding them for the success of their students on items such as state-standardized tests. He can further motivate them by allowing them to develop their own teaching methods in order to best meet their student needs thus creating an open climate for pedagogical practices. Teachers feel valued and respected if they feel the school leader trusts them to know which instructional methods are best for their students. Likewise teachers are motivated to pursue those methods and implement them if the school leader allows them the freedom to do so.
Schools today need administrators who are not afraid to seek teachers’ opinions with regards to how the school operates. If administration wishes to see teachers improve their instructional efforts in the classroom, the administrators need to tap into teacher motivation by creating an environment that is open for discussion and dialogue. A team-like atmosphere along with praise and recognition will inspire and motivate teachers to utilize their talents to ensure students are receiving the best instructional methods from their teachers. Students are not the only individuals in the classrooms who need to be motivated and encouraged. Today’s school leaders should take note of this and strive to diligently motivate their teachers to perform at the highest standard possible.
Owens, R.G., & Valesky, T.C. (2007). Organizational behavior in education: Adaptiveleadership and school reform. Pearson Education, Inc.