It's not always easy to keep team morale high.
Sometimes something as simple as working with a colleague who is in a bad mood or is having a bad day (go easy on them... it happens to the best of us!) can cause team spirit to nosedive. Luckily, these kinds of moods can be broken relatively easily. A kind word, or a friendly joke, and a bad mood can disappear as quickly as it emerged.
But other times, morale can drop because of more serious reasons that are beyond our control.
Organizational changes, for instance, or a restructure can quickly cause panic and negative rumors to spread. Your company might have gone through a period of downsizing, resulting in layoffs or an unwanted office move. Perhaps your team has suddenly become overloaded with work, which has caused stress to build up. Or maybe there's a lack of strong leadership or good communication, which has made people disillusioned and unhappy.
In these cases, it can be much harder to restore team morale.
Lifting Team Morale is an Important Leadership Skill
So, one of the most important tasks a manager has is to make sure that he or she tackles the underlying issues that cause such negativity, before it wreaks too much havoc. If he doesn't, it can cause significant problems, not just for the team but for the wider organization too.
Problems left to fester can soon cause people to "give up."
This can damage productivity, create a bad atmosphere in the office, and cause people to call in sick or avoid work. If people become really fed up with the situation, communication can break down completely. As a result, team relationships can become damaged and people may even decide to quit.
So what can we do to keep team morale high? Well, we decided to ask our friends and followers on social media, to see what tips they had. And, as ever, your responses were right on the money. Here are some of the best ones that we received.
Lead by Example
Many of you highlighted just how important strong leadership is when tackling low morale. When people feel unhappy or lost, it's important that they can turn to their manager for guidance and support.
As Mademoiselle LeVell, from Birmingham, suggested, "Be encouraging, positive & nurturing in your actions and interactions. Lead by example. Ensure you lead the way by maintaining your own emotional wellbeing, enabling you to present as fair and reasonable."
Naeem Wareem, an importer from Pakistan, also reinforced the importance of leading by example: "Do what you recommend to others; show them it can be done."
Value Your Team
One of the most popular tips put forward was the importance of valuing your team.
Glenn Dugan, a LinkedIn follower from Iowa, summarized this well. He commented, "Value your team by informing them, helping them, empowering them, and coaching them. They are the #1 asset."
Madamoiselle Lavell emphasized the importance that active listening can play in this: "Actively listen to & interact with your team. Acknowledge & value input. Allow good time for tasks to be completed."
Have Fun Together
As the old saying goes, and as Jack Nicholson so frantically typed in The Shining, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." And many of you agreed!
What builds team morale more than anything is the "fun factor." Being able to laugh together, joke together, or just have a bit of chat about the latest Netflix series you're watching – all of these things can really lift a team's spirit and create an enjoyable atmosphere.
As Charlee Hanna, a follower from Utah, says, "Teams first need a mission/goal then the tools & empowerment to reach the mission/goal, next add some fun."
Naeem Warem also adds, "Get motivated and get in motion."
And, perhaps one of my favorite comments, from BrainBlender Technologies Inc, "Laugh & Dance randomly & often."
A big thank you to everyone who contributed to our discussion about team morale and how to boost it. We received some amazing advice! And, if you have any further morale boosting tips, why not share them in the comments section below...