Let’s face it there are some big challenges when you are the boss. There’s the checkbook to balance, bills to pay, marketing to be done and business plans to be written. But there are some things that if not done and done well will make all the other things on your to do list a mute point. One of those things is your employee’s morale. Or as I like to call them your Team.
This can be a scary topic for most business owners because they themselves don’t feel like they know how to be a motivator. And Morale is all about motivation and positivity.
Some of us have a natural leader inside of us and can motivate and boost morale in just about anyone.
But for those of us that aren’t even sure how to do that for ourselves here are the top 10 things you can do to make sure your Team’s morale is always at the top of the charts.
Set clear goals and expectations: The quickest way to frustrate someone is to not give them direction. People really do want to please and get the job done right but if they don’t know what the job expectations are they will get frustrated and feel unproductive and morale will go down the drain in a hurry. If your expectations change every day well that would be like changing the rules of a football game at half time. It just isn’t fair and you will frustrate your Team. So have good clear job descriptions for each Team member’s position and hold each member to those expectations.
Give positive feedback: We all want to get that gold sticky star after our name on the chalkboard because it let’s us know that we are on the right track. And that we will get attention when we do good not just when we do something wrong. How discouraging would it be to only hear about your faults? Your Team really needs to know when they get it right so they can do more of it. You get back what you put out. So if you want positive you have to focus on giving positive.
Remove frustrations or barriers: These can be physical or perceived. It could be anything from broken equipment, not having the right equipment to get the job done, lack of training, lack of leadership, unrealistic goals, personal circumstances, and not feeling good enough for the job or even poor communication. This is where being in tune with your Team is so vital. Sometimes your Team may not even know they have a frustration but you can see it in their performance or demeanor and can pick up on it and handle the situation before it’s even a real problem. Have a plan in place for your Team to voice their concerns when things aren’t working.
Acknowledgment: A great way to acknowledge someone is to have an employee of the month program or some kind of reward when a quarterly or monthly goal is met. This doesn’t have to be a huge monetary thing. In fact sometimes just walking to a Team member and telling them that you see what they do for the company and for the clients and others and that you really value them is a huge thing to do. If you have weekly or daily Team meeting (which I highly recommend that you do) use this opportunity to praise your Team and talk about the positive things you see them doing. If you give a monetary reward it can be something like a Starbucks Gift Card, cash or plaque. Better yet take them to lunch so you can get to know them better and spend time around them. Building a connection with your Team is huge for company morale. Praise and praise often.
Communication: Almost every single conflict that has ever happened in my company with my Team members can be traced back to poor or lack of communication. In fact some of the conflict wasn’t even there it was just perceived because there wasn’t any communication between two Team members. People are social creatures and we crave interaction. And if we don’t get it we interact inside our own head and we are really good at making things mean this or that when in fact it doesn’t. In order to have good communication you need to have an open door policy within your company. This means you always encourage conversations amongst your Team. The conversation may be about upsets, concerns, clients, other Team members or even ideas for improvement or new business. There needs to be rules however about how we communicate. Conversation needs to be for a productive purpose. Never should yelling, back stabbing, lying or gossip be tolerated. Period. If the communication is to tear down and not build up or create a solution then it should have no place within your Team.
Take immediate action: This is very important. Without it your Team will lose respect for your and not trust you. For instance if it is brought to your attention that someone on your Team is being mean, rude, disrespectful in any way or not following company policy or rules and you do not take immediate action to stop the situation from happening your Team won’t believe you. They won’t believe that you expectations or goals are really important to you and they won’t feel like they can trust you. Lack of action will tell your Team that it’s not really important to you and if it’s not important to you it won’t be important to them either.
Listen: One of the biggest complaints that I hear from Team members is that they don’t feel like they have a voice or that they are heard. When you have a Team member come to you sometimes you don’t need to do or solve anything. You just need to shut up sit down and open your ears. They may in fact already have the answer they just need support and maybe to bounce the answer off of someone they look up to so they know they are on track. If you are more worried about being heard instead of hearing you cheat them of the opportunity to be empowered to grow and become more confident in their own skills.
Help them get what they want: Your Team needs to feel that there is something in it for them too. Find out what goals your Team has for themselves and then help them achieve them. They will be infinitely happier as they are achieving things for themselves. This can be anything from a promotion at work, going back to college, buying a house or even wanting some free time to spend with their kids. Some people will say leave your personal life out of the office but I’m here to tell you if they are unhappy in their life it will come to work whether you want it to or not. If you find a way to support your Team in all areas of their life they will want to support you and thus your company in the same way.
Let them plan the fight and they won’t fight the plan: A friend of mine of by the name of Richard Rossi said this to me several years ago. One of the most brilliant things I have ever heard from a business owner. He has 70 Team members and runs a company that has more than $80 million in gross annual revenue. The culture in his company is one of freedom, awareness, responsibility and accountability. His CEO of his company has been worked for him for 24 years and has never worked anywhere else. So what makes a person never want to leave a job? Because he is not an employee that goes to a job of drudgery everyday where he doesn’t have the opportunity to make a difference. Richard has daily Team divisional meetings where goals are discussed and their execution is planned by the Team. So there is total buy in because they, the Team, came up with the plan. It’s not something that is being forced upon them they chose it. And a big moral buster is a feeling of hopelessness or helplessness which these people do not ever have because they always have the power to make things better and different. Empowerment trumps low moral every time.
Always have their back: If it is at all possible for you to stand firm in your support of your Team while in front of outsiders then do so. Sometimes I know this is not possible because of something serious that you have to take an immediate stand against like abusive behavior, yelling at another Team member or client. In those instances you would potentially refer to #6 and fire them on the spot. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about supporting your manager’s decision in front of other Team members and then going behind closed doors to coach them on things you want done differently in the future so that your manager does not lose face in front of the rest of the Team. If a client is being abusive to one of your Team then fire them IMMEDIATELY! It is vital for your Team to know that they are important to you and that how they are treated is just as important to you as how your clients are treated. If you wont’ stand behind them they won’t stand behind you.
I hope you have found this helpful and that you will view your Team and the importance of their morale as a key component in your company culture.
What are some of you doing to keep your Team engaged and excited? Comment below and share with us all.