Management Lessons From Our Elementary School Days


Think back for a moment to your elementary school days. Chances are, some of your best memories revolve around celebrations. Whether celebrating a classmate’s birthday, a favorite holiday, an accomplishment for the class, or even the 100th day of school, everyday celebrations are an essential part of many elementary school classrooms.

Why are these types of celebrations so popular?

For one thing, they offer everyone, including the teacher, a bit of a mental break from the daily grind. When people return from a break, they’re ready to sit down and work some more. Without a break, it’s easy to get burned out.

Secondly, they help to keep the atmosphere happy and joyful in the classroom. Everyone functions better when they work in a positive atmosphere.

And finally, they offer the teacher and classmates the chance to recognize the accomplishments of the group as a whole, as well as those of individual students. When students know their efforts are recognized, the motivation to continue to perform and earn more rewards is strengthened.

While most working adults are far removed from elementary school, that doesn’t mean these basic lessons learned in childhood no longer apply.

What business leaders today can learn from their elementary school teachers

Elementary school teachers understand that the best way to keep people motivated is to celebrate their accomplishments. When you find ways to congratulate people or teams who meet particular goals at your organization, you’ll also be encouraging them to continue to strive and accomplish more. Employees who feel as though their accomplishments and efforts are recognized are more likely to feel satisfaction at the workplace and trust that their efforts contribute to company success.

How businesses can create the environment on an adult scale

Working to keep the atmosphere light and pleasant can also contribute to a positive work environment. While most professional environments wouldn’t be able function with parties every week, there are plenty of other ways to encourage a positive workplace. Cards, token gifts, bonuses, announcements of accomplishments at meetings, and similar strategies can all help employees feel appreciated. Even personal notes from management will let employees know their leaders notice the efforts of everyone below them. Save the parties for more memorable occasions, such as the holiday season.

Employees who feel appreciated have greater company loyalty. Loyal employees tend to be fantastic company evangelists, while also contributing to the stability of the company. The result is a stronger company that can move forward more effectively. Loyal employees tend to speak positively about the brand to their friends and family, as well as online. Creating a positive company environment will help to make the entire company a welcoming place for employees and customers.

When companies have specific goals in mind, it’s tempting to just expect everyone to put their noses down and work. In reality, companies that work to create a rewarding atmosphere where employees feel happy and content are likely to accomplish greater things and have employees who feel more loyal and appreciated by management. How happy an employee feels can have an incredible impact on their productivity. So take the time to foster happy employees, and get started building your company today.

High Five! Ways to Make Your Work-Life More Enjoyable

Nineteenth-century humorist Josh Billings famously said, “Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds a man down or polishes him up depends on the stuff he’s made of.” Here are five tips to help you make sure life’s polishing you into a beautiful gem:

Slow down. Yes, we’re all busy, and we all have deadlines we need to meet. But trying to go 100 miles per hour in 20 different directions simultaneously will only get you nowhere that much faster. Take some time each day to step away from the grind, unwind, and slow down. Go for a walk. Spend time by yourself. Buy a coworker lunch or a cup of coffee. Or just relax, recharge, and reconnect with the world around you. You’ll return more focused and better able to handle the day.

Show appreciation. As human beings, we all appreciate feeling, well, appreciated. Make sure you thank those around you for the things they do to help and encourage you. Let your coworkers know how much their time, talents, encouragement, and support mean to you every day.

Offer positive reinforcement. This may sound like showing appreciation, but it’s a little different. With appreciation, you’re thanking someone for something they’ve done for you. With positive reinforcement, there’s no expectation that the other person has done or will do anything for you. You’re showing them encouragement with no strings attached. For example, when you see a coworker making strides in an area of concern or taking on new challenges, give them a pat on the back and hearty congratulations. Similarly, if you see someone struggling, offer support and guidance if you can.

Counter negativity with positive words and praise. Negativity is a highly contagious workplace disease. Don’t let it spread to you. Avoid overly negative office chat. Focus instead on building people up by being a positive voice for and influence on those around you.

Find creative ways to use your strengths. We all have things we need to do at work, and it’s important to accomplish those tasks. But, whenever possible, try to carve out some time to work on projects that showcase your talents and put your strengths to maximum use. If such projects are hard to find, create your own, and present them to your manager or boss. Make sure to include valid reasons you think your projects will benefit the company. If your ideas get shot down, don’t give up. Come up with a better plan, and keep trying. Your initiative, determination, and positive attitude will not go unnoticed.