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Last month the Gallup Business Journal™ published What Your Performance Management System Needs Most (Oberoi and Rajgarhia, 04.04.2013). The authors write that “performance is the true litmus test for survival in the marketplace” and note:

High-performing employees… [give] the companies they work for a competitive advantage;

It’s crucial… to have systems in place to identify, recognize, reward, and retain… top performers to achieve sustainable growth;

An effective performance management system starts with a thorough goal-setting process, followed by regular feedback and reviews/appraisals… identifies employees’ developmental needs and includes robust reward and recognition practices… should encourage collaboration, teamwork, and communication.

However, the authors conclude that most companies “overlook the importance of the people element” in their performance management system and state that “managers have the greatest impact on that element,” underscoring:

A company can have a world-class [performance management] system in place — but it’s only as effective as the managers who implement it.

So, what does this mean for schools? We know from research that teachers are the most important variable affecting student achievement. Much like Pilcher and Largue, the authors of How to Lead Teachers to Become Great, several studies “suggest school leaders may be second only to teachers in their impact on student achievement” (see Gordon, 2012). Consider the following from How to Lead as actions school leaders must take to improve their schools – student achievement; school leaders must (XI-XII):

Recruit, retain, coach, and support teachers to help students achieve student learning results and ensure parents that their child is receiving an outstanding learning experience… [they] must make recruitment, selection, and development of teachers their number one priority.

School leaders see teachers coming to work each day to make a positive difference in the lives of their students. To do that job well, they know they have to continuously learn and re-learn things that make them great teachers. Too often, however, they start the school year eager to teach and learn, only to lose momentum, become fatigued, get frustrated, and go into survival mode as the year progresses. Tragically, brand new teachers sometimes decide to quit the profession. This is where school leaders must remember that they have the “greatest impact on [performance]” and focus on helping teachers keep their beginning of the school year momentum going in a positive direction.

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Gordon, G. (2012). The School Leader Pipeline: Student Success and Leadership Succession. Gallup, Inc. Available online here.

Oberoi, M., and Rajgarhia, P. (04.04.2013). What Your Performance Management System Needs Most. Gallup Business Journal™. Available online here.

Pilcher, J., and Largue, R. (2010). How to Lead Teachers to Become Great. Gulf Breeze, FL: Fire Starter Publishing. Available online here.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the fifth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.