How Can Leadership Boost Employee Morale
Leaders need to show their teams that they appreciate their work, and must motivate them to move forward. So how can leadership boost employee morale? How managers can keep employee morale high right now?
Your team pick up cues from your own attitudes and behaviors, which will impact how they approach challenges and problems at work.
As a leader, you’re aware that one of the key tasks of a leader is to boost morale. You’re not just responsible for boosting your team’s morale at work but also your own.
Morale doesn’t perfectly equate to motivation, but to a much broader and sweeping attitude about the work we do.
WarningThe first thing that’s important to understand is that morale is a feeling, an overall outlook. It’s an encompassing sense of confidence and satisfaction about the work we do that cannot be handed out or forced on anyone.
Employee morale has to be developed and nurtured by those in leadership positions.
Having a personal attitude of positivity makes it possible to meet challenges and perform well. Good morale at work will lead to greater productivity and positive outcomes for your business.
When leaders are disengaged, untrustworthy, and fail to give any kind of feedback to their team, employee morale and performance suffer.
But, when leaders are competent, accountable, inclusive, and are genuinely engaged in the day-to-day functioning of the organization and their employees’ lives, team members take notice and feel excited to come to work every day.
Boosting employee morale is a matter of understanding what employees need to keep them happy, and then finding the balance between that and organizational success.
Boosting employee morale can seem difficult at first, but there are a variety of methods that have been proven to work that can be employed, all of which are simple and easy to implement. Here are seven ideas for executives leaders to uplift beleaguered staff during challenging times.
Recognize Employee Achievements
The best leaders give credit and thanks regularly and sincerely. They appreciate others at every opportunity. It isn’t just that they feel gratitude, more importantly, they express it regularly and generously, both privately and publicly.
Employee recognition keeps your workforce motivated. Great leaders are quick to say, “thank you” and explain why what the person do is important.
When you create an environment in which good work is appreciated, your people will feel empowered in their ability to contribute to your company. As a result, people feel seen, heard and valued — and inspired to do even more good work for them.
Expressing gratitude is not only the right thing to do, it’s the strategic thing to do.
WarningAnd you do not have to be in a position of authority to exercise this magic. You can be a colleague, a customer or a subordinate — practicing gratitude will reap a rich return.
Implementing and maintaining a purposeful recognition and reward programme that motivates employees to work smarter is important. Team or individual vouchers, bonuses, free lunches or social activities are some of the best ways to reward your team. Fear not, you don’t have to give them money; most of the time, a simple thank you will suffice.
“Work” and “fun” don’t need to be mutually exclusive — provide causes for celebration and fun in the office.
WarningIt’s important to show you care for your people as human beings by celebrating birthdays in the office and acknowledging personal achievements such as graduations and work anniversaries. This will have a positive influence on raising your company’s team spirit.
An unfortunate number of employers forget that part of their business model is compensating people in ways that motivates to work hard and be productive.
Teaching people the value of hard work or working towards a common goal may seem noble, but it doesn’t have a place in business. Simply put, extrinsic motivation is key to keeping employees happy and motivated.
Letting team members know that your value their hard work can be one of the most successful ways to improve their spirits.
Most of the time, employees just want to be told that they are appreciated, and are doing a good job. If you feel that doing this individually is awkward, try making a whole team meeting out of it.
Maintain Two-way Communication
Teams get work done by working together effectively. Successful collaboration can be tricky, but learning to communicate effectively can drastically influence team members’ positive feelings about day-to-day encounters in the workplace.
Keep employees looped in. It’s important to keep employees looped in on everything from team updates to product changes — even if it seems minor.
WarningPeople don’t like to be surprised with changes that everyone else already seems to be aware of, and it can cause feelings of isolation and negativity.
Servant leaders welcome open and honest feedback from team members and respond in meaningful ways. Making sure your team has the ability to speak their mind all the time is essential.
Where possible, servant leaders implement great ideas from team members and take appropriate action when team members bring their concerns. Once your employees know they won’t be ridiculed or put-down for “bad” ideas, you might be surprised how employees that were once somewhat quiet become vocal, valuable members of your team.
Explain decisions. This one is especially relevant for managers and the C-suite. Don’t make decisions in silos then expect everyone to be on board. Provide context, communicate early and often, and take everyone’s responses into consideration.
Two-way communication is vital for maintaining employee morale in a remote work environment. Such leaders make powerful remote managers.
They’re used to reaching out to team members regularly, and they stay attuned to their needs. They maintain closeness and connection.
As a leader, you can help people feel appreciated by walking around the office and checking in with employees to see how they are doing.
WarningPaying attention to people and spending time with them is another form of appreciation. It shows that you care about them and what they are thinking.
Trust Your Employees
Employees want to feel like they’re adults who are trusted to get their work done. Constantly checking in on their progress or questioning their vacation days is a surefire way to cause resentment.
The old model of leadership was top-down: one person in charge at the top instructing those below on what to do.
But in our new era, leadership is more about facilitating collaboration toward common goals and trusting employees to come up with well-informed solutions. They understand the problems, so empower them to voice their ideas, identify solutions, and implement them.
When employees feel valued and vested, they are part of something bigger and work for the benefit of the company, not just for themselves as individuals.
WarningEmployee morale can only reach a certain level without trust in leadership. After all, employees aren’t likely to communicate or contribute if they don’t feel safe expressing themselves honestly at work.
Employees need to feel competent in their job. When a manager is constantly micromanaging an employee, the morale begins to drop and the employee begins to feel a lack of trust. The long-term effect of micromanagement is employee apathy and a sharp drop in morale.
A leadership skill that is definitely an employee morale-booster is trustworthiness.
Leaders can build trust by being open and forthcoming with information, even bad news. They can also demonstrate trustworthiness by doing what they say they’re going to do — being someone who can be counted on and who keeps their word.
Show your employees that you have trust in them by allowing them to do their job without having the manager constantly looking over their shoulder.
There could be a rise in morale, a rise in productivity and an improvement in the quality of work. Allow employees to do the jobs for which they were hired, and leave room for employee input and imagination.
See Challenges As Opportunities
Servant leaders remove obstacles blocking their team’s success. They empower their team to complete daily goals, so they leave work with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
They are always looking for ways to be useful and support their team, even if that means getting out on the floor themselves to keep a task on deadline. This willingness to work alongside employees demonstrates an authentic desire to serve both the organization and the team.
Another driver of employee morale is growth potential. Servant leaders facilitate professional development or mentorship opportunities.
Servant leaders care about employees and their growth — even if there is the risk of them moving on. But that risk is mitigated by servant leadership, which facilitates job satisfaction and excellent workplace experiences.
Keep in mind the original premise that employee morale is based on positive feelings and emotions, negativity about the future is a counterproductive notion a leader doesn’t want to foster.
Optimism is something that can be learned and practiced. As a leader, you have the power to not only model optimism, but also foster it.
WarningYou can both acknowledge and reframe difficulties so that team members feel motivated to step up to challenges. Good leaders always remember: With great challenges come great opportunities.
Giving your employees hope and hunger for achieving their professional goals is one of the best ways for leaders to improve morale.
Optimism about the future will produce better results every time. In that vein, promoting and hiring from within strongly reinforces the idea that employees have a future within the organization and that their aspirations are possible.
Pave The Way
Good leaders remember that they operate as part of a large system, and while they may focus on details, they must never lose sight of the bigger picture. Communicate your vision of the desired end-state from your vantage point, because one of your functions as a leader is to help create your organization’s culture.
Tell a compelling story of how your vision will achieve a brighter future for your team and your organization. Keep the big picture in mind.
WarningThere is tremendous value in the story you tell your people to help make sense about where your organization is now, where it is headed, and why that plan makes good sense.
Employees need to know that their work is more than just a job.
One of the best ways to improve employee satisfaction is to be sure people know that the work they do, both individually and collectively, serves a greater purpose. The most valuable and effective employees feel that they are working together to produce something bigger than themselves — start with why.
When leaders are ill-suited for the job, don’t have the resources they need, or don’t receive the training they need, teams suffer. The solution is to either hire better leaders, or reconsider the ones you have.
Set the standard for your team’s work by showing employees that you are highly competent and are interested in what they have to say.
Learn to be a leader who pays attention, is fully present in meetings and who asks thoughtful questions to draw out the input of your colleagues. Positive morale is infectious and negative morale is a disease.
If the manager has a positive view on the company and the job at hand, then that finds its way to the employees and becomes the way they operate.
WarningRefrain from spreading negative company gossip and offer support to your employees at all times. Being a sounding board for employee’s personal issues that are affecting work productivity can have a strong positive effect on work morale.
Remove The Fear Of Failure
It’s vital to create an environment where failure is acknowledged and quickly forgiven. When starting your own business, launching into a new market, on negotiating a deal, you are likely to experience failure at some point.
Having a fear of failure can prevent you from being proactive and from taking necessary steps in the future.
WarningIt’s important to create an environment at work where employees are not reluctant to take informed risks. This means allowing mistakes to happen and learning from them.
All you have to do is tell your team it’s okay to be less than perfect because, in fact, you want them to be anything but.
Acceptance leads to measured risk-taking, learning, and out-of-the-box thinking. With greater acceptance, you are more likely to get greater productivity and creativity from your team.
Self-acceptance is an attitudinal shift that needs to happen from the top-down. Mistakes at work are unfortunate, but the positive result is that you now have the experience that prevents you from doing the same thing again.
The automatic psychological and physical response to a mistake is not a positive one.
If your workplace culture openly encourages mistakes and communicates that mentality to every member of staff, it is possible to change this reaction amongst your employees. Drive your business forward with a team of risk-takers, whose passion and ingenuity knows no bounds.
There is something very powerful about honesty and vulnerability when engaging your employees. It shows your humanity and ultimately, it seems the most beloved leaders are often the most human.
Again, employee morale is based on positive feelings, and it’s up to the people in charge to prepare this foundation and model the behaviors necessary to maintain the attitudes that keep the work environment and culture healthy.
Fix The Break Room Fridge
No office environment is perfect, and it’s expected that things may need to be repaired from time to time. However, if you allow too many things to fall into disrepair, or ignore the importance of worker comfort, that can cause issues.
Leverage your organization’s resources. Leverage all the tools and people who support you.
Whether it is fully utilizing technology or tapping your network of professionals, use resources strategically to help employees reach their goals. Think creatively about what resources you could exploit to help employees navigate rough waters to reach your organization’s goals.
Discomfort is a distraction. Uncomfortable environments and clothing can slow down work processes.
WarningWhen employees are comfortable at work, they perform better because they aren’t focused on whatever is making them uncomfortable: whether it’s wearing uncomfortable clothing, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, or being in an environment that is too hot or too cold.
Observe your staff for in-house opportunities. For example, you might discover that some employees could benefit from additional English language training or financial literacy skills. You could contact an organization to educate your staff and improve their lives.
Employees don’t want to take part in boring business meetings and hence it’s your responsibility to make the process fun and evocative.
Introduce interactive games to help your staff in sharpening their skills and getting recognition for their good performance. This will allow them to build an internal community where they can easily discuss issues related to their work.
A mentor is the most valuable asset for employees who can help them in solving their issues and reshaping their professional life.
You can use one of the best online systems which link mentees with a proper mentor on the basis of their goals and requirements. Also, you can partner with a third-party advisor to help your staff.
By following the guidelines here, you can significantly improve employee morale. The key is to ensure that employees are valued and well compensated.
While it’s tempting to focus on the big picture of employee engagement, don’t forget that employee morale is a piece of the puzzle.
If you can follow these advices during this time of challenge and uncertainty, you will help support your employees to bring their best selves to work and get through this challenging time together in positive and constructive ways.
Employee morale boosts are an ongoing effort.
WarningOf course, it’s a wiser investment to show your employees you care about their happiness in the form of morale-friendly policies than with a tasty pie. But in a perfect working world, morale is tended to throughout the life of an organization, in addition to day-to-day tokens and treats.
When it comes to boosting employee morale, it’s really the leaders of the workplace that need to step up and work to fix things.
If you start recognizing your team members’ accomplishments and give positive feedback, you can dramatically improve morale, productivity and retention.
The second you recognize that your employees have low morale, from high turnover to less collaboration and little conversation, it’s time to take a stand.
The best thing you can do for your company and your team is to embrace changes that positively benefit all before low morale hits.
Offer any of the ten tips we have outlined above and office morale is sure to increase.
And, let’s face it, giving praise is one of the least expensive yet most effective leadership actions you can take. Even if there’s no “thank you” budget. If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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