From the Mind of an Educator: Opening Optimism

Here we tread down slippery ground, one of the most difficult aspects of management to juggle, particularly in retail. We must get to know our employees on a personal level without befriending them.  But we must understand who they are to inspire them and to motivate them.  We must know what they need us to communicate to them.  One of the most eye opening articles I read in college was from the wise words of WSU professor Richard Sagor, A Lesson From Skateboarders.  As individuals we have innate desires within us:


This week concludes our focus on A Lesson From Skateboarders, and what better way to leave it than with a positive outlook on the future?  Optimism in the career world comes from job security, and job security is mentally measured by feedback frequency, success rates, and the sense of belonging and contributing to a unit.  So I will leave you with these simple topics to utilize in your next one on one with your staff members.

  • Make a list of each employee under your direct supervision, write one awesome task they have completed in the past week, and somewhere they have struggled and any constructive feedback you could offer.  Make an effort to reach out to each employee in person by next Friday and share your feedback on their performance.
  • In this same session present another list you have made of three successes each employee has made over the past month.  Acknowledge each individual’s strengths to them.
  • Ask your employee if they feel a part of the team, or if there are times that they feel lost or on the outside and why.
  • Ask your employee what their short term and long term goals are, and ask how you can help.  Offer help that they may know you have the resources for.  Come up with a game plan for these goals and a deadline, keep these noted in a personal calendar so you can check with your staff members regularly as their deadlines approach.

What were the results of these meetings?  Do you feel they were more empowered when they walked away?  Why or why not?

6 thoughts on “From the Mind of an Educator: Opening Optimism

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