Leadership and Motivation was something of a focus of my study at UNSW in the 1990s. Some of this study has complemented some of the in school PD I have done this year and my journey in triathlon this year. Often it is about perfecting a system whereby a set of specific and easy set of skills leads step by step to dramatically improving an area e.g. swimming. You master the skills through drills, thinking through the steps carefully. Each set of drills has specific focus points that lead to successful swimming.
In being a better leader or performing better on the road or pool it is important to realise it is not about emotion. It is about doing the work. Putting in the hours. I am a great believer in Malcolm Gladwells Ten Thousand Hours Theory.
Motivation is not wishing and promising. Most people have said something like, “I wish I was…” Promises frequently follow the wishing. “Starting Monday, I am going to…” Promises that are rooted in wishing never get off the ground. This blog is an example of saying I will do something and actually doing it.
Motivation comes from setting goals. I didn’t start out day one in training and run a marathon or even 10km. That would be crazy and not sustainable. My long term goal was to develop the ability to run a 10k race. The real long term goal was to be able to get myself to a place where I could run a sub 2 hour half marathon, then a marathon, then a triathlon and then a half ironman. Goal setting and not emotion is the first building block of getting and staying motivated. Interestingly enough goal setting is where our school is headed next year with our students.
Motivation comes from habit. Arthur Lydiard once said that the hardest part of training is getting changed. My trainer once told me It takes six to eight weeks to imprint a new habit. This is a common belief that I have discovered in many places.
Motivation comes from results. I find it easy to train after achieving a PB in an event. Difficult conversations are neither as difficult nor threatening after being successful.
This article I found very useful for growing middle managers in schools.
This article relates to this week blog if you have further interest in motivation theory.
Edward L. Deci University of Rochester Robert J. Valler and University of Quebec at Montreal LUG G. Pelletier University of Ottawa Richard M. Ryan University of Rochester