In response to the posts relating to “Gant Wisdom 1,” a reader writes:
“Sean, our Principal cluster group was having a discussion about morale, similar to the concept discussed earlier this week. We agreed that the best way to improve staff moral was to have success in improving student achievement.
Our teachers love their work when they see the payoff of their effort in the improved results their students have on weekly checkpoints and district assessments. Giving staff recognition and reinforcing their effort for this success is how you build staff moral.
Sure, we try to be nice and do some fun stuff but that is not what builds staff cohesiveness. It is improving student achievement that brings staff together, working for a common vision and goal.”
Those of you who have worked with me or have heard me speak know that I often say, “Never worry about morale.” And I can not emphasize how must I mean that. “Chasing” morale is a “lose / lose” proposition. At least morale, as most educators define it, which is the idea that it is leadership’s responsibility to ensure that the staff “like” their job. Work is work. If you like your work, that’s just an extra bonus.
Now I do subscribe to the importance of a military type definition of morale. Morale defined in a manner that centers on the staff’s belief in the quality of leadership, belief in the importance of the mission, and the belief that the training that has been provided provides the staff with the tools and expertise to have a chance at successfully completing the mission. This type of morale is important and is the responsibility of leadership. And staff that have high levels of this type of morale often achieve great things.
When I can’t define the mission and can’t identify the tools and training that my staff need to complete the mission (which by my definition is the recipe for poor leadership), then I have to resort to the smoke and mirrors of making you “feel” good. It is the “win” that feels good, not what I do for you; the hard work, stress and pressure just make the win that much more satisfying.
Great comment by the way.
Think. Work. Achieve.