The Power of Recognition: How to Motivate Your School Management Team and Enhance School Quality

Rahama Obadak
Marketing & Comms, Flexisaf

Great schools are run by great management teams. It’s that simple but of course getting to that level of greatness is a work in progress; often governed by how well these people feel valued enough to want to stay and do the job. This in turn affects the degree of behaviour, performance, job satisfaction and overall School quality.

For most Nigerian schools, it is easier said than done—the positive effects of motivation are often short lived unless positive reinforcement continues to be offered regularly. Research has shown that employees that are not adequately recognized at work or provided better incentives are 3 times more likely to say they will leave in the following year.As a private individual or government entity that owns a school, finding ways to motivate and keep everyone happy is of utmost importance (I mean, even students need to be provided with incentives to strive harder and improve on their performance). Several are of the opinion that measures for motivation should flow from top-down and maintain some level of consistency, to have any impact on School quality and student learning.

How the Management Team Works and Why Motivating Them is Important

Your school management team sits at the top; they exist to collaborate and work at a macro planning level to assess the school as a whole. This entire view of the school's development involves matters like the vision, policies and regulations, curriculum goals of the school and whole staff development plans. See how I used the word “macro”, because that’s how much of a large scale job it actually is. Because it takes a considerable amount of time to plan and requires constant monitoring, a high level of productivity is expected at this stage and productivity is determined by the degree of motivation. It all adds up; if you get that last part right, your School and everyone in it is bound to succeed.Top management which starts from the Principal and includes Heads of School, is the key to maintaining an engaged workforce—they are responsible for giving regular praise, recognition and incentives to middle management (which include teachers, officers, Registrar and Maintenance) in order to increase productivity, engagement and reduce the risk of high turnover. Now those at the top also need to feel valued or like other staff, decide to leave when they believe otherwise. In essence, it’s a vicious cycle with motivation sitting at the center of it all.

4 Key Factors You Need to Consider to Help Effectively Motivate Your Management Team

Not to linger too far off, I’ve narrowed it down to 3 main points that will have measurable impact on your School’s management team's overall productivity and performance:

  1. Better pay

Higher pay is most certainly considered as a strong positive motivator which not only depends on the level of pay, but how this pay compares with the pay of other team managers. The sad story, however, is that most Nigerian schools are underfunded and entire staff, particularly teachers in Government schools, are underpaid. Though efforts to revise the Teacher Salary Scale (TSS) has been in the works, you need to create and implement a faster tailored solution to increase salaries and other remunerations.

  1. Recognition for a job well done

This cuts across all levels of the management team. Regularly providing positive reinforcement can be one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of the work place. Strategies, such as a consistent appraisal process, need to be adopted that require minimal funding or effort but support a healthy, productive work environment. This also ties in with good, open communication and providing supportive supervision, in order to address any challenges that may interfere with achieving the best results.

  1. Professional Development:

New policies and strategic development plans need to be recurring, so as to enable the team implement and manage new changes. For instance, the core professional development needs of Principals starts with learning effective leadership skills. Or in the case of teachers, who need to stay up-to-date on new research of student learning experiences, emerging technology tools for the classroom and new curriculum resources. School owners are more likely to pay higher or praise more if quality is represented across all levels.

  1. Less workload

When the demands of a job are particularly high this can negatively impact a staff’s well being and weaken performance. A common example is when teachers juggle teaching multiple classes because the School is understaffed. Coupled with the fact that salaries are not paid on time and other pressures outside of work, it is almost always certain that team managers will yield to these pressures. Means of addressing this would be by considering paying overtime,reducing the workload or hiring more qualified staff.


This post touches on areas that are likely to increase and influence the well being of each member of your Management team, thereby causing a spike in your School's general performance: in profitability (financial performance), labour productivity and the quality of outputs or services. However, what determines job satisfaction is not a one-size-fits-all, but flexibility, recognition, the ability to make a difference and yes, even special perks, can go a long way.Did you know that SAFSMS Assesssment Module is the easiest way to reduce your teacher workload and improve your School's overall quality?