Currently I am taking an administration course, in the course of which I researched the benefits of empowering the staff and the results such empowerment would have on the school. As I got to the end of my research I discovered interesting facts. I would like to share with you.
The leader holds the responsibility to empower, motivate, lead, and provide opportunities for growth for the staff. Those being empowered should feel a genuine excitement to work with leaders who support the mission and vision of the program. If the staff is not motivated the vision and mission will eventually collapse and possibly the program as well. Therefore, in order to have a successful program, its staff must remain empowered to support and work toward making the mission and vision reality.
The business definition of “Empowerment” (according to businessdictionary.com) is a management practice of sharing information, rewards and power with employees so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance. It is based on the idea that giving employees skills, resources, authority, opportunity, motivation, as well holding them responsible and accountable for outcome of their actions, will contribute to their competence and satisfaction. This definition gives the staff a clear understanding of what they are responsible for and the means required to achieve it. Leaders must be able to recognize the gifts and skills the staff have and allow them to use those skills that naturally empower them. Ways to empower the staff not only becomes noticeable through the eyes of the leader, but through the eyes of the co-workers during staff meeting and spending time with each other. When a faculty team understands the common good for all, they are much more likely to support empowering each other, which will be for the greater good of the program.
Empowering the staff will also increase the staff confidence in their ability to help make decisions for the program as well as assure them that the leader has trust in them. Using the strengths of the staff gives them a sense of responsibility and ownership. Most sports teams have many players, each with different responsibilities to help their team win. However, it serves the team no good to play a game and have one of their most valuable players sitting on the bench. The same concept applies for a learning program too. The school leader needs to know the strengths and skills of the staff and give them an opportunity to express their thoughts concerning the program. Doing this will help reinforce the confidence and skills of the staff.
Empowering the staff also has the potential to create a joyful place to work. A daily routine of following orders with no opportunity for growth is likely to result in a dreadful workplace. Empowering staff offers them an opportunity to voice their opinions, use their creativity, and be role models for newcomers to the program. My research showed me how the career of a preschool teachers tend to have very few opportunities to show initiative. It is essential to empower the staff and give them a reason to come to work besides a paycheck. When employees are encouraged to manage their classroom the way they want, as they remain accountable for the mission and vision of the program they become empowered. Giving them the tools and the structure they need to run their classroom and letting them go and do it leads to the same outcome. Telling them often how much you appreciate their hard work and commitment motivates the staff. Empowered staff members enjoy coming to work and perform at a high level because of it.
An enlightened leader knows the staff members beyond the original purpose for hiring them. The leader looks for the skill and characteristics among the staff and offers opportunities to get them involved in the growth of the program. The staff members respond by getting involved in the program, and their confidence and knowledge grows. With all of this motivation, the staff enjoys working in the program and feels excited to go to work and get back to what they are good at doing as they have the support they need to do it. They take a sense of ownership and responsibility for the program. Empowered staff works as one team for the same mission and vision of the program.
As I conducted my research I was struck by the realization that the staff at MSC is empowered. If you notice the students, their love for the program is a reflection of the love the staff shows in its work. And the enthusiasm is infectious! Many parents work to support the program in a reflection of the excitement their children have for attending the school. The leadership of MSC recognizes the skills in each of us; it encourages and supports those skills which, in return, sharpens those same skills and promotes growth. We have opportunities to make suggestions for the betterment of the school. All of this positive energy creates a sense of ownership of and responsibility for the MSC community which in turn leads to success for the school. The empowered teachers, taking responsibility for their work is a great example for the students, who are in turn empowered to make their own academic and personal path. We do it not because it is our responsibility as educators, but because we love what we do and we believe the efforts we put into it are worth the sacrifices that we make. Thanks for a great school year.