How to improve your team’s morale
Many times in business, much like in life, a person’s perspective determines one’s morale or attitude more so than any actual situation does. Many companies will make statements such as, “the morale of the team is down because of recent company changes, cuts in benefits and employee layoffs.” These issues are real and the impact it has on people is real as well. Let’s not diminish real emotions tied to these issues that cause morale to be low. However, to improve morale is to change the team’s perspective versus looking for a golden answer. An organization can spend all their time focusing on these changes and continue to experience negative emotions, or they can choose to change the perspective of their people. Which do you think is more productive and advantageous?
In some situations a company may hire a motivational speaker to speak to their group about a tragedy and as a result, the audience gets motivated and is eager to make the best of their personal situation. Why is that? What happened was a change of perspective.
When a leader is faced with low employee morale, their job is to hold their team members accountable by teaching the team members to be grateful before they can be successful and happy even if they are not necessarily content.
A person must be grateful before they can be successful
Everybody can be grateful for what they have, but more often than not we forget to think about the good. In one room a young couple is disappointed when they find out they are having a baby girl instead of a baby boy, where just across the street there is a young couple grateful for the 6 hours they have with their newborn baby before she passes away. In the business world it is no different. In Dallas, a gentleman is upset and feels like he is not treated fairly because due to company financial struggles, they remove company cars and increase the current work loads to make up for those that were laid off. In the same city, a man and woman need to figure out where they are going to live because they just had to close their small business, file bankruptcy and can’t pay their bills. It is all about perspective. Smart parents around the world tell their children to be grateful for what they have, because there is someone out there that has it a lot worse (and by the way-those “someone’s” usually have a better perspective than others).
It does not do any good to sympathize with employees when they are complaining about workload or removal of benefits and even pay cuts. In fact, the bad morale is created when leaders and workers start to sympathize with each other on the struggles or unfairness of the job. The intent of these leaders is to show compassion and empathy for their team members and therefore hopefully help them turn around their morale, but instead they end up confirming why the morale should be bad. To improve morale the leader must change the team member’s perspective. This is not a cold or insensitive approach, it is an empathetic approach that says the feelings the person is feeling are real, but may not be necessary, helpful or have a purpose. The leader’s job is to give the team member’s hope and understanding, not sympathy.