Treat Your Staff Like Children 

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Group of playful preschoolers with teacher having fun

Have you ever wondered how an Educator supports a child into becoming a loving, independent, self-confident learner, ready to face the challenges of the world?

Can you imagine how a typical manager might treat that same child? They’d set some goals. No sense celebrating poor performance. We’d call that appraisals or performance and development reviews. Then we have to figure out a way to motivate the child so we’d set up a bonus system for success and warning letters for poor performance.

Would they thrive in this culture of fear and intimidation? Nope, they’d just learn to do what they’re told, when they’re told to do it.

So how do Educators do it?

They set reasonable expectations and then celebrate success. They start with tasks making sure that the child can’t fail. Every time the child succeeds they get positive reinforcement, supported and congratulated. But what happens when they fail? Nothing. No constructive criticism, no developmental feedback, no warnings in the personnel file. Educators celebrate the process not just performance.

Children are taught that their appropriate behaviours will receive positive reinforcement. Children learn that negative behaviours will not be acknowledged.

When Educators speak to children, they don’t bark instructions or micro-manage. Educators instead, focus on building trust and positive relationships. They work with individual strengths and they keep the child challenged.

Treat your staff like children. Over celebrate, make a big deal out of the good and little stuff that we want constantly repeated. Under-criticise. People know when they’ve screwed up. What they need is help and support. Most staff are doing things right more than 95% of the time. So why do we waste all our time giving feedback on the 5% of things we never wanted to happen in the first place.

We need to set up the circumstances where people succeed, over celebrate the good and little stuff we want constantly repeated. Celebrate strengths, set high expectations and coach for excellence. Treat your staff like you treat the children and see your team succeed.

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