Building morale in teams is a key part of making them function better, with more motivation and with greater efficiency.
Of course, low morale is something that can impact negatively on both individual managers as well as team members, so it is something that needs to be addressed right across the board of a business structure.
Bear in mind that even teams which seem to enjoy good levels of morale can get better by focussing on team building exercises that provide outlets for everyday stresses.
That said, senior managers should not think that greater team morale will solve all of their operational problems – it is merely something that lends itself to a more open and constructive business structure. How can you help the morale of your teams to improve?
1. Incentivise Properly
Some teams will suffer long-term morale loss if the people in it feel that they are not being properly rewarded. In a commercial context, this will mean remuneration levels, but also consider the wider package of employee benefits.
Of course, paying more may seem like a quick morale fix but it often isn’t. Look into the wider employment market and establish what the current going rate is. So long as staff members feel they are being rewarded fairly, their morale should rise.
2. Empower Decision-Making
More and more organisations know that the real experts in their teams are on the front line, doing the work that really services clients’ needs. Only by empowering individuals to speak up about what they are doing will organisational improvements be made.
Staff members with low morale often fail to point out where changes ought to be made. However, many military commanders already know from their battlefield experience that trusting their junior officers to make decisions – within limited strategic boundaries – means gaining better outcomes and enhancing morale.
In short, you should trust junior managers more and encourage them to take more decisions, this can be improved with leadership training courses.
3. Praise Team Members
You might think that the annual appraisal system is enough to praise team members who are performing well. However, in a low-morale situation, it is often far too late.
Make sure you praise and reward excellence where it is noticed. Financial reward is not always necessary to build morale – recognition is often enough. Ensure your praise is focussed, however, and not too general since this comes across as a little false.
4. Think About Personal Life
Team morale drops when people feel they are putting in extra time but this is not sufficiently recognised. If team members feel that their enthusiasm to provide extra hours when it is needed is not reciprocated when they want time off, morale will necessarily take a hit.
Honouring time of in lieu and not changing holiday schedules at the last minute are two key measures that ensure employees feel that their personal life is properly respected.
5. Take Time Out
Teams with low morale can improve by simply getting out of the office once in a while. If your teams are always in the same physical environment with the same faces, then petty issues will often go unresolved with many employees feeling that ‘nothing will change’ because they are stuck in a rut.
Some time away from your usual place of work will encourage conversations to develop that help to make breakthroughs which can, then, transfer back to the working environment in terms of better morale and help develop your business work environment.
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