The one gift all Educators want for Christmas

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Farran Street

Weekly Pit Stops

As this time of year approaches we are all overwhelmed with gifts of chocolates and lollies for the festive season. It is an amazing show of appreciation, love and support. However, there is one gift that everyone wants to receive. This one gift costs nothing, it’s something everyone wants, it’s the single best gift you can give all year.

The best gift you can give someone is your full attention.

When you give your staff your one-on-one undivided attention, it says, “you’re important to me” it means, “you’re valued” and it shows, “I care about you and your wellbeing”.

We call these gifts of attention, Pit Stops.

Pit stops might take a matter of seconds in Formula 1, but at an pit stop in our setting, is a time for reflection, not changing tyres. They can play a vital communication role and are ideal for flagging issues before they become too serious and showing staff that you really care.

Pit stops are one-on-one informal weekly meetings that you have for 5 to 7 minutes with each member of your team. The nature of the meeting should be quite open-ended: “How are you going? How’s the team going? Is there anything I can do for you?” Leaders should meet with room leaders (individually) and then room leaders should be meeting with their staff, one on one.

Although you talk to your staff every day, these informal meetings are amazing, because they allow you to build relationships and they are non-transactional; you’re not giving instructions or telling somebody to do something. It’s just an opportunity for you to broaden the agenda for discussion and as a result you tend to find out about things before they snowball. Pit stops can be done one-on-one in the room or during quiet time.

Pit stops can be about anything – home life, work life or things like that. The only thing they shouldn’t be used for is to moan about other staff. Using pit stops in a strategic way not only helps to build relationships but uncovers all the things that are often left unsaid, whether that’s positive in terms of how someone is enjoying their role and working with you, or negative in terms of highlighting issues at an early stage before they start eating away at people who would otherwise not say anything.

Pit Stops are, without a doubt the number 1 gift your staff would like to receive this Christmas.