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How can a principal motivate his teachers


Date Posted: 6/24/2013 2:28:25 AM

Posted By: bony maurice  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 214

What really motivates people is the success of any endeavor, but different methods of motivation are necessary for use in facilitation of motivation of employees in the work environment because the priorities, goals, personal and professional needs, and maturity levels are varied among different employees and motivational factors effective for some employees may not be effective for other employees. As social theorist Abraham Maslow (1970) contends, motivation is a force which is founded on certain desires, wants and needs. Reflected in these needs is intent to be satisfied through the pursuit of the intended ends. This pursuit is underscored by this concept of motivation
The head teacher especially in this case need to communicate genuinely with the staff and should set a target for his/her staff so that they work towards achieving the goal.

He/she should have personal interactions with the staff so that he can encourage social competence. By the head teacher using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the order will rest on two assumptions; first that unsatisfied needs motivate and second as a particular need becomes satisfied it becomes less of a motivator and the next time takes on more importance.

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy

Abraham Maslow developed the hierarchy of needs model in 1940-50s USA and the hierarchy of needs theory remains valid today for understanding human motivation, management, training and personal development. Indeed Maslow’s ideas surround the hierarchy of needs concerning the responsibility of employees to provide a workplace environment that encourage and enable employees to fulfill their own unique potential are today more relevant than ever.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states that we must satisfy each need in turn starting with the first which deals with the most obvious needs for survival itself. Only when the lower order needs of physical and emotional well-being are satisfied are we concerned with the higher

order needs of influence and personal development. Conversely, if things that satisfy our lower order needs are swept away, we are no longer concerned about the maintenance of our higher order needs.

Maslow’s original Hierarchy of needs model was developed between 1943 – 1954, and first widely published in motivation and personality in 1954. At this time the hierarchy of needs model comprised five needs.

Biological and Physiological needs.

These are the basic needs and are the literal requirements for human beings. If they are not satisfied or met the human functioning will paralyze. These needs include air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep. For a head teacher willing to motivate his/her staff he/she will start by providing the basic needs for those incapable of providing for themselves food, clothing and shelter. A hungry staff cannot perform his duties very well. The head teacher can offer lunches and breakfast programs in the school to ensure the basic needs of staffs are satisfied. In most schools now there is the school feeding program which provides low cost or free lunch for the needy and vulnerable staff members. The head teacher should also collaborate with other stakeholders or the like minded persons to provide these requirements to the needy staffs. He can also invite speakers who can address issues of financial management to his staffs.

Safety needs.

With the psychological needs satisfied, the individual safety needs take precedence. By safety needs we mean order and structure needs, home security products include proper house, alarm system, insurance, and life assurance. The head teacher will address this issue by addressing personal safety issue for example will ensure that members of staff have insurance covers, workplace is secure and conducive for provision of knowledge. He can also organize committees such as welfare committee to assist and take care of members’ problems for success. The head teacher should inculcate the spirit of being security minded for himself and other person.

Belongingness and love needs

Upon fulfillment of the safety needs the third layer of human needs emerge which is love and belongingness. These needs include dating and match-making service, chart lines, clubs and membership societies and family themes. Humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance whether it comes from a large or small social group. There is a feeling of love and be loved. In the absence of these elements many people become susceptible of loneliness, anxiety and depression. In this aspect, the head teacher can motivate the staff by encouraging social afflictions; he/she can encourage recreational activities that involve a group and encourage teamwork. This will enable the staff interact and feel more involved in the school program.

Esteem needs

These needs include cosmetics, fast cars, home improvements, furniture, fashion clothes, drinks, style products and services. Self-esteem means what an individual thinks he/she is, the value he/she adds to his life. All humans have a need to be respected and to have self-esteem and self-respect. People want recognition and are respected. If there is an imbalance at this level results into law self-esteem.
The head teacher can promote staffs self-esteem by appreciating their work and be satisfied with their work. This will boost their self-esteem by feeling that they are worth capable and reliable.
The head teacher can also give tokens to the teacher whose subjects have improved. In some schools there is well established guidance and counseling programs which help boost the staff esteem by offering counseling services which re-assures them that they are important and can make it in life.


Self-actualization means self-satisfaction when you look back, you realize what you had wanted to achieve; you have achieved and count everything a success in your life.
The head teacher will motivate his/her staffs by ensuring that all other hierarchical needs are satisfied and the teachers are comfortable to perform their work with a lot of diligence, competency and efficiency. When this happens it will be realized in the performance of the school in the academics, sports and any other activity the school is involved in. the head teacher will use areas of specialization to locate work for example a teacher who can teach mathematics very well will be allocated that subject. This will impact in good performance of his students and the school.
The need for self-actualization is one that overalls everything that one will definitely bring on whatever motivation necessary to fulfill it. This level of hierarchy is concentrated on an individual being able to reach their potential as human beings.
Maslow’s explanation and interpretation of human condition remain fundamentally helpful in understanding and addressing all sorts of social and behavioral questions of human beings.
Its work is a great success in relation to modern challenges for work such as in the psychological contract and leadership ethics and even to globalization and society.
Maslow’s obviously most famous for his hierarchy of needs theory because it is a wonderfully simple and elegant model for understanding, many aspects of human motivation, especially in the work place.

Criticisms of the hierarchy of needs

Like any simple model, Maslow’s theory not a fully responsive systems. It is a guide which requires some interpretation and thought, given which, it remains extremely useful and applicable for understanding, explaining and handling many human behavior situations.


One of the best ways to address the issue of motivation is by creating a positive environment that will result in better performance of the teachers.

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