Managing people

Managing an institution involves a lot more than having all the paper-work done in time or providing all needed materials for the proper performance of the aimed activities.

A very important aspect of managing an educational institution is motivating people to use their skills and energy in order to obtain the best possible results. A school manager must motivate the staff in order to carry on the projects and motivate the students in their learning and developing process.

D.C. McClelland says, in his book Human motivation (1985), that only about 10% of people are strongly motivated and that those who showed a strong achievement motivation in childhood tended to manifest the same drive in adult life.

Involving these 10 percent in projects and development won’t be such a struggle, but dealing with the people who are not strongly motivated or even demotivated takes a lot of managerial involvement and skill. The challenge is to inspire people to be and do their best, but not all the people are as ambitious, as driven as optimistic towards accomplishment or as  into professional growth as others.

A good manager has to keep in mind that people support what they create. The staff members have to be invited to participate with ideas and strategy to the goals of the institution. Personal ideas create energy and energy is translated later on into motivation.

On the other hand, people have to be empowered with competency, meaning knowledge, skills and ability. There are situations when the team cannot complete the project because they lack the know-how. The leader must provide them with the tools needed to overcome the deadlock, by offering the opportunity to gain competency through education꞉ suggest  books they must read, courses they must take. Competency raises confidence and confidence is the key to motivation.

In motivating active participation, a manager must elicit clear, short term goals, not overwhelming, long term visions. Small steps and effort celebration can lead to involvement and change.

Offering demotivated employees role models, showing them people who succeeded in obtaining a positive outcome can become part of the motivating strategy. Other people’s experience, hardship and change that, finally, led to success can show your staff that nothing is impossible.

A leader, a manager acts as a motivator among their colleagues and even though it is not always easy nor possible to reach everyone’s potential, the right approach may prompt a surprisingly warm response.


prof. Daniela-Elena Pîrvu

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