Many child care leaders really struggle with keeping their staff motivated and positive.  This is probably the number one issue we hear from our members and clients, month after month.  So in today’s blog, I wanted to share with you my number one strategy for keeping my team of six employees positive and self-motivated.

It might surprise you to know that the #1 secret of a successful team is: to do regular fun events TOGETHER outside of work.  One of my mantras as a small business owner is: “A team that plays together STAYS together.”  There are several layers to why this is such a powerful and effective strategy.

First, it builds incredibly strong bonds among your team members.  Doing fun stuff together helps them really get to know each other and promotes positive behaviors like laughter, open communication, support, hugs, teamwork on projects, and much more.  Perhaps even more important, destructive behaviors like gossip, conflict, and tearing each other down are drastically reduced.

As a leader, it’s so important to structure fun, team building activities outside of the work place. Your team will be motivated on their own accord to do great work, enabling you as the leader to not feel like you always need to be the “heavy”.

A real case study of team-building results comes from a client of ours in North Carolina with 4 school locations. One of their schools had zero staff turnover while another one had over 50% turnover.  I asked the two directors to tell me what they do to promote a motivated and healthy team.  The “zero turnover” director planned monthly dinners with her entire team.  The dinners were optional and each teacher paid for their own meal, but were well-attended.  The “50% turnover” director did no social stuff outside of work.  The winning director engaged her staff in fun activities outside of school and created a team that worked so well together that they stayed together!

Here at The Child Care Success Company we have quarterly round table meetings and we make the important investment of flying in the three members of our team who work remotely.  We spend a lot of time working hard and playing hard too.  Spending time outside of the work space gives you insights into your staff’s character and strengths.

Depending on where you live and the make-up of your staff, you could do things like once a month dinners, or if you have an all-female staff, do a spa day, self-defense class, or go bowling with your team.  One of our members from Louisiana recently took her leadership team to the beach for a work/play weekend.  And per her recent report, her team is rocking it.  They came back so motivated and more united as a team.

Another member took her team on a cruise and turned it into a working vacation. Staff come back appreciating each other more and become a more united front.

All this translates into a more bonded, motivated team that doesn’t want to let you or their teammates down.  Remember a team that plays together, stays together. It’s about the spirit of the place!

As always, we’d love to hear about the events you’ve done with your staff in the comments below.