Let’s See How Your Team Might Look In A Rowboat

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Farran-Street_JOW-150601-7417We can split your team into 3 main categories.

First in the boat are the Engaged Educators.

They are pushing hard all the time, they know where they are heading and they understand their responsibility within the team.

Then you have Compliant Educators.

They are facing the right way and following instructions, without over-extending themselves

Finally at the back of the boat are the Disengaged Educators.

They are splashing each other, ignoring directions and almost capsizing the boat.

Check out the next post to see how much engagement exists at your service.

Are Your Educators Engaged In Your Service?

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Farran StreetEngagement refers to how much emotional commitment an individual has to their work. For Educators, it’s about connecting with children, families, their colleagues and their work.

As managers and leaders, we need to create an environment where employees are motivated to achieve workplace outcomes.

Research has demonstrated that engaged Educators are more collaborative, more loyal and better equipped to solve problems. Likewise, teams of engaged Educators are more innovative, more productive and more energised. These teams have lower employee turnover, and are committed to quality educational outcomes.

Alternatively, disengaged educators are lazy, self-interested and negative. They undermine others by being overly critical, they fail to complete tasks on time, and they often alienate families.

A recent Gallup Poll showed that 56% of educators are disengaged. Disengaged employees are more inclined to take sick days. Every sick day costs a provider approximately $385 in lost revenue. To put this in perspective, just one disengaged educator is costing you over $1100 each year in sick leave.

  1. Gallup Employee Engagement Among the U.S. Working Population, 2012
  2. Gallup Employee Engagement Among the U.S. Working Population, 2012, Direct Health Solutions
  3. Queen’s School of Business Centre for Business Venturing (QCVB)

Spend Money On Educators Not Resources!

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Are your Educators actively engaged at work? How much emotional commitment do they display to the goals of the service?

Did you know learning outcomes for children could increase dramatically if leaders invest in motivating and engaging their Educators?

56% of Educators are disengaged and over 13% are, actively disengaged.1 This means the majority of educators are not committed to their role. Ideally we’d love educators to be involved, enthusiastic and contribute positively to the service.

A Canadian study in 2010 asked staff “what can your leaders do more of to improved engagement?” 58% responded, “Give more recognition!”Recognition comes in a whole variety of forms, including rewards, extra responsibility and peer-to-peer feedback.

When companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% of leaders see a positive impact on engagement. 3 Traditionally allocating money away from children’s resources to reward staff has been taboo. This is slowly changing as leaders recognise that engaged staff, leads to better learning outcomes for children.

Spending more on recognition doesn’t mean paying bonuses. It might mean diverting money for relief staff to allow your high performer to take some time off the floor and mentor a new starter. It could be recognising someone’s effort in incorporating sustainability in their program and providing them with a gift card to use at a garden store.

I work with a group of Educators who are so engaged they take the children for nature walks and collect natural learning resources to be used in the service. Much more cost effective then buying over priced, commercial ‘natural’ resources from a catalogue.

If you spend money on engaging Educators, you’ll end up with motivated, passionate, and inspired educators that create their own learning resources, sounds like a win-win to me! Recognise and reward your Educators and see their engagement soar!

1 Gallup Employee Engagement Among the U.S. Working Population, 2012
2 Psychometrics, A Study of Employee Engagement in the Canadian Workplace 2010
3 McKinsey Motivating People, Getting Beyond Money, 2009

Creating Change

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iStock_000005856368SmallI’m often asked, why is it so hard to get people to change?

This story below provides a great metaphor on the difficulties of change.

“If you put a bunch of fleas in a small fish tank with a glass lid, they will initially jump and bounce against the top. After a while, no more fleas will hit the top having “learned” the boundary of their world. At this point, if you remove the lid, very few fleas will escape the tank. They will bounce to their now self-imposed height limitation.”

How do we get the fleas out of the tank? Change can be very daunting for many people. As leaders in your service, you can help encourage change by following a few simple steps.

1. Celebrate what ‘was’, communicate the need for change.
2. Discuss the outcomes, the “Greener Pastures” Use future orientated, positive language.
3. Make the change visual. Use signs, diagrams, models and posters.
4. Have 1:1 meetings to gain individual commitment for change
5. Provide training, so they will have the skills to change
6. Provide the documentation and structure to support for the change
7. Provide emotional support for the team and individuals
8. Set small achievable, measurable goals
9. Persist! Habits vary greatly from person to person
10. Finally and most importantly, celebrate! Not just the end goal, but every little step of the way!

Motivating teams for change is a difficult but important leadership skill.

Good Luck!

For more information on inspiring change check out our Leadership Essentials workshops.

Rewarding Great Performance

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I was in Newcastle last week with a great team of Educators. I began to reflect on the best ways to reward hard work. Rewards need to be linked to job performance; they should be a ‘thank you’ for a job well done.  If they are not linked they become an expectation and the motivational qualities are negated.

6 ways you can rewards your Educators for a job well done.

  1. Extra Programming Time
  2. A Voucher For Their Room
  3. Programming From Home
  4. Promotion
    • WHS Coordinator
    • Nominated Supervisor
    • Educational Leader
    • Systems Champion
    • Social Coordinator
    • Leadership Team
    • Sustainability Coordinator
    • Indigenous Champion
    • Innovation Coordinator
  5. Pay Rise
  6. Professional Development Training

The best reward is to acknowledge hard work with a promotion.

Case Study

This Educator was a passionate gardener and we promoted her to the role of ‘Sustainability Coordinator’.  She attended gardening workshops and sustainability conferences. During her additional time off the floor she liaised with local agencies to have water tanks installed and create partnerships where the service could use paper off-cuts from local businesses.  She created an herb and vegetable garden and mentored other staff in sustainability-learning experiences. She involved parents in cooking demonstrations, create a compost bin and started a worm farm.

If you know what motivates your team, rewards can be both, motivating for the individual and beneficial for the service.

Do you want to find out more about performance reviews and using rewards to motivate staff?

Book into one of our Hiring, Firing and Everything in Between Workshops

Belonging – Just a Stone’s Throw Away

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I was lucky enough to be in Brisbane last week, working with the great team at Living Faith Early Learning Centre. I had the opportunity to see an amazing learning experience used to create a sense of belonging.

Each family was given a pebble and asked to write one special word, which has meaning for their family.

“Please take a pebble home and use the markers provided to write one word which has special meaning for your family. We’ll use these pebbles to help guide our principles and practices.” 

Each educator had also taken the time to write one special word, which holds meaning for them. By emphasizing common beliefs this experience is able to create a sense of belonging between staff and families.

What a great way to kick off a conversation about belonging!


Leading High Performing Teams

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This week I’ll be presenting a breakfast workshop on “Leading High Performing Teams” for Gowrie. This breakfast workshop is perfect for managers who are short of time and on the go. In this three-hour workshop I’ll focus on creating inclusive, dynamic and collaborative teams. The session will focus on the key ingredients to create high performing teams and how you can use ground rules to create a positive and inspiring culture. Breakfast is included in this early morning event where you’ll be inspired and motivated before midday!

You can grab your tickets here.

2 Really Quick Ways To Reduce Conflict and Improve Communication in Your Team

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f7c7371f8fe62f3c299f8acb603004a1Here are two great ways to reduce conflict and improve communication in your team.

1. Start Doing, Stop Doing, Continue Doing

This is a fantastic little process to improve communication and reduce conflict in a non-confrontational environment. In your next team meeting, ask each team member to divide their paper into 3 sections. Title each section, Start Doing, Stop Doing, Continue Doing!

First, under the heading start doing, everyone list one thing the team should start doing, this could be a new initiative, a new idea or something that’s not been happening in recent times.

Next, under stop doing list one thing that needs to end. This might be a process or could be a team behaviour or disposition.

Finally, continue doing.  Ask everyone to list something that they’ve observed, which they think is great and should continue.

Ask everyone to read out their 3 statements and have a discussion about moving forward!

2. Drawing

Drawing is a great non-confrontational way to help team members reflect how they build positive relationships with each other. In a team meeting, hand out some drawing paper and ask the team to divide their paper into 3 sections.

In the first section ask them to draw an animal that represents how they operate in their team.

In the second section as them to draw an animal of how they think their team see’s them.

In the third section have the team draw an animal which they feel represents them.

You’ll end up with some amazing animals! Often the 3 animals are very different, this is a great launch pad into discussing how people operate and are perceived in the team. Have a quick discussion about whether the 3 animals on the page have similar or dissimilar characteristics and why.

Do want to find out more about how to reduce conflict and improve communication in your team?

Click here find out more about our team workshops. 

5 Quick Ways To Engage Your Staff (and have them attending meetings)

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iStock_000003309008_Small Having staff that are passionate about their jobs is great, however whilst passion is necessary it’s often not sufficient. Here are 5 quick ways to keep to motivation flowing:

  1.  Annual Leave Raffle

An Annual leave raffle is a great way to encourage staff to attend voluntary meetings. Everyone who attends the meeting receives a ticket in the raffle. Once a month the raffle is drawn, if the staff member is in attendance, they’ll win an extra annual leave day! Annual leave tickets also become a currency in themselves. The possibilities are endless!

  1. Hide and Seek

Have you ever left educational journals in the staff room only to find them left unread? Grab a handful of $5 Myer gift cards and your favourite stick of roller glue. Find some interesting articles and start sticking! Burry the gift cards deep in the middle of the articles. Once the word gets out, there’ll be a rush on the journals!

  1. Warm Fuzzies  

Take 20mins out of your next meeting to focus on each other’s strengths. When you focus on strengths your focusing on what’s right about your team. Focusing on your strengths allows teams to be more collaborative, solve problems more creatively and see the bigger picture. It helps teams be more innovative, more productive and more energised. Take a few minutes to write something nice about a colleague you’ve observed in the last month and how they’ve helped you.

  1. Bring a Plate

Pizzas might be cool for dinner before the meeting once or twice, but how about having everyone bring their signature dish. Cooking show’s are all the rage these days. Ask everyone to bring a plate of food for dinner and you’ll be amazed with the response.

  1. How do you like your tea?

Shared rituals are great way to create a sense of belonging and generate engagement. Rituals foster a group’s culture and identity. They create an atmosphere of trust and build bonds between team members. A great way to create a ritual is to place a simple sign in the kitchen, which list each staff member and how they like their tea or coffee. When you have a new team member staff, you can make a point of adding them to the list.  This not only encourages people to be considerate but it creates a great way of welcoming people to the team.

Do want to find out more about how to motivate staff?

Book into one of our Leadership Essentials workshops.