Wednesday, October 19, 2011

All I want is someone to believe (Billy Joel)

Still with the Whitaker book - he struck a chord with me when talking about autonomy and recognition.

He quotes Al Burr's discussion that truly outstanding teachers need two things to make them content and motivated - autonomy (freedom to do the things they know are best) and recognition (can be formal or informal)

Let them take chances and risks and watch them implement innovations.

The best leaders I had gave me both.

The best of the best was Colin Prentice at Macleans College. He used his Monday mornings before staff briefing to distribute his yellow bits of paper containing his personal recognition of staff. We would look forward to Mondays and the chance of getting those yellow bits of paper. When we did it was an exhilarating feeling.

Intrinsic rewards (and not extrinsic rewards) are the best drivers.

While I was there I wanted to start a media studies department. He allowed me to do so and left me to it. I really appreciated that!

Greg Taylor at Mt Albert Grammar left me alone to run the boarding hostel and gave me the freedom to make mistakes and complete innovations.

So I did - honours boards, dorm names, refurbishments and so on. It was a thrilling time.

In my current job I work with subject specialists who are experts in their fields. I aim to give them autonomy and informal recognition.

I figure I can't do their job any better than they can so why would I try?

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