How to Increase Adult Engagement and Motivation


Do you look forward to going to work most days? Do you feel that your work matters? Are you part of the decision-making process in your school or district? Do you use your unique strengths and talents most days?

If you answered, “Yes” to the above questions, it is highly likely you are engaged in, and motivated by, your work. You go the extra mile. You are growing and developing in your role. You know you are contributing in a meaningful way.

Common sense tells us that our ability to engage and motivate children in schools correlates with the engagement and motivation of the adults in those same schools. Observe a school culture where the adults are actively disengaged and unmotivated and you will likely observe disengaged and unmotivated students.

Unfortunately, there is widespread adult disengagement in our nation’s schools. According to research from the Gallup Organization, only 30% of U.S. teachers are engaged in their work;[1] a percentage that matches the national average for all U.S. workers. If our goal is to unleash the potential of all students, we need to focus on unleashing the potential of all adults in the system, in equal measure.

As a school or district leader, you have the opportunity to lead in such a way that increases the engagement and motivation of your faculty and staff. What are some practical ways in which you might do so?

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