Lately I have read several pieces of work by Tom Rath including How Full is your Bucket, Eat, Move, Pray, and Strengths Based Leadership. Dr. Jacobsen, my current Head of School has often commented, “Small deposits have a cumulative effect.” to remind us to focus on getting the little things right and to be intentional in everything.
Tom Rath and Don Clifton’s research share this idea. Do we want increased productivity, engagement, commitment, satisfaction, and safety among our employees and students? If so, then we need to spread positive, sincere encouragement in small doses. Nobel Prize-winning psychologists Daniel Kahneman tells us that we have approximately 20,000 individual moments each day. 20,000! Experts tell us that the magic ratio of positive interactions for every negative is 5:1. So, we all need to get busy making some positivity spread.
I plan to take this advice and do a few things differently. We will celebrate what makes each child and teacher unique rather than what makes them “fit in” and summons students to the office (and call home to report) to commend them for doing the right thing. We will focus on “filling buckets” through individualized, specific, and deserved feedback. We will also regularly evaluate our implementation of The Five Strategies:
- Prevent Bucket Dipping
- Shine a Light on What is Right
- Make Best Friends
- Give Unexpectedly
- Reverse the Golden Rule
Finally, we will ask each teacher before the school year begins how he or she likes his or her bucket filled.