In The Six Secrets of Change, you say the
number one secret for leaders who want to
improve their schools is “love your employees.”
What do you mean by that?
“Love your employees” means you need to set
up conditions where people are motivated individually and collectively. If there’s one word that
captures change and change theory, it’s motivation.
People have tried extrinsic motivation—rewards
and punishments. They get a little bit of progress,
but not much. What really is the heart of successful change is intrinsic motivation, which is
about purpose, mastery, capacity, working with
others, and having a degree of autonomy. The best
way you can love teachers is to create the conditions under which they can become successful.
The accountability movement has tried to put
maximum pressure on teachers to get results—and
it doesn’t work because teachers need to know
how to do the right thing, not just that the right
thing should be done. Building accountability into
our working lives is one of the key actions I talk
about in Six Secrets that will lead everyone in a
school to be more productive. But if you want to
motivate teachers, you can’t just try to convince
them through, for example, research evidence.
That doesn’t work. Nor can you motivate people
just through moral exhortation. You convince
them by giving them experience as teachers in rel-
atively nonthreatening circumstances, with others
who can be helpful. And then when they start to
experience success with their students, with other
teachers, they really get motivated. Then it kind of
Andy Hargreaves and I call it collaborative
professionalism. It’s the teacher with a degree of
autonomy interacting with other teachers, figuring
out the best things to do to get results for the
particular students they’re working with.
The overall thrust of our work is to strengthen
the middle (districts) and the bottom (students
To achieve true reform, this expert on school
change explains, we need to infuse collaborative
professionalism throughout schools with a focus
on deep learning for all students.