Improving Organizational Morale

Below is an article I wrote for ASTD on the above topic:

Virtually everyone seems to agree that great organizations generally have high morale. After all, when morale is high, the employees tend to have more energy and greater focus on achieving the organization’s goals. Conversely, when morale is low, employees seem to have less energy and spend more of their time complaining, looking for other jobs, or simply trying to protect themselves. In short, when morale suffers, performance suffers because employees devote far less time towards delivering results.

Of course, developing and maintaining high morale among the troops is not an easy thing. Almost anyone who has been in management would probably agree with that statement. There are always a million things that can seemingly go wrong, so how does one go about improving morale? To me, the best way to do this is to follow a few simple, relatively basic principles that I believe are the keys to successful morale.

Before I describe them, let’s make one thing clear. In my opinion, morale is usually a function of leadership. Good leaders do the right thing and as a result, people want to follow them and are committed to accomplishing the mission, goals, and objectives. On the other hand, bad leaders tend to do the expedient thing, resulting in employees who merely follow orders and are compliant, but not committed.

Keys to Improving Morale

So what are some of the principles or keys I just alluded to? In my view, they fall into a few basic categories as follows:

  • your philosophy
  • how well you communicate
  • your management systems and how well you apply them
  • the employee dynamics
  • your skill at dealing with difficult employees.

Your philosophy. If you believe in your employees and trust them to do a good job, they will deliver the goods for you. Conversely, if you think your employees are simply there to collect a paycheck and must be carefully watched and controlled, they will quickly get the message and do nothing more than what is in their job description. In essence, your philosophy will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Remember: nobody is stupid, and everyone quickly knows where you are coming from. If you treat your employees well, they will work well for you.

To read the entire article, go to:

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