The Feeling of an Organization is Leadership’s Responsibility

The feeling of an organization is leadership’s responsibility. Left to chance, the lights go out.

Organizational morale evaluates leadership. I’ve seen people smile, wave, and shout, “Hey,” when leaders walk through a plant. I’ve also seen people pay no mind.

More than rewards:

A manager I coach wanted to discuss rewards. I asked, “What’s the purpose of rewards?

He said, “The purpose of rewards is to build team morale.” He could have said rewards honor performance or affirm effort. But he didn’t.

Energy drain:

The simplicity of morale-building beguiles egotistical leaders. You don’t need big programs, big budget, or big plans.

Egotistical leaders suck energy.

Big egos love the mirror. But morale building begins with caring for others.

4 don’ts of morale building:

Reject lame reward programs that cost money and bore employees.

  1. Don’t create unrealistic expectations.
  2. Don’t wait for big budgets.
  3. Don’t demotivate good performers.
  4. Don’t embarrass people who prefer the shadows.

Low budget morale builders:

Provide recognition often enough to make it effective, but not expected. 

  1. Coffee and bagels for no reason.
  2. Pie.
  3. Apples or candy on desks with handwritten thank you notes. Mention strengths or character in the notes. “You’re great at … .”
  4. Pizza or subs for the team.
  5. Ice cream bars.
  6. Anniversary celebrations. Have a cake when someone hits their one year anniversary with the company.
  7. Send a teammate to meet customers and see his/her product in use.

No budget morale builders:

Get out of your head and into your heart, if you hope to build morale.

  1. Notice people.
  2. Express care.
  3. Set challenging goals and provide support.
  4. Give pats on the back.
  5. Begin meetings by talking about wins.
  6. Smile.
  7. Invite the CEO to pat your team on the back.

How might leaders build team morale? How do you do it?

What should leaders avoid when it comes to building morale?