How Managers Can Improve Staff Morale - Part 2

If you’re a manager, you know the challenge of keeping your best employees and trying to bring the others to a higher level of performance.  While an employee may simply not have the skills to do their job well, in many cases an underperforming team member may have more of an attitude problem than an ability problem.  Fortunately, there are some practical things you, as a manager, can do about it.

In my last blog I shared the first five of ten strategies for improving staff morale within your team.  Here are the remaining five strategies.  Feel free to pass them on.

 

  1. Understand your team member’s behavioral style 

What exactly is a behavioral style? Simply stated, it’s a “big picture” view of the way you are.  It’s the byproduct of a set of personal traits and characteristics that are inherited, learned through significant role models and influenced by early life experiences.

These traits and characteristics combined produce your personal strengths, needs, motivations, fears and weaknesses.  An awareness of behavioral styles will help you understand and respect the differences that exist between you and other people, thus reducing misunderstanding and conflict.

  1. Request feedback and input

As stated earlier, to improve staff morale team members need to be given regular feedback related to their performance.  It is equally important for you to request feedback and input from your team.  This feedback can be given in a one-on-one meeting or anonymously using a 360 degree survey.[Link or resource?]

Too many managers either assume they know what their team thinks about them, are too afraid to know or just don’t care.  After all, you’re the boss and that’s all that matters right?  (Wrong.)

You know what they say about those who assume, and avoidance fueled by fear is likely to come back to bite you in the back side.  Not caring what your team thinks will, at the very least, lead to underperformance, but more than likely will result in some form of mutiny.

Asking for feedback and input communicates that you value your team’s observations, respect their ideas and are open to making appropriate changes.  Keep in mind, however, it’s important to give clear parameters to your team with regard to the type of feedback and input you are looking for and when you receive it be prepared to take action.

  1. Acknowledge hard effort and success

When team members work especially hard and perform well make sure they know you’re aware of it.  You don’t have to acknowledge every positive thing they do, but you do want to make sure they know that you don’t take their contribution for granted and that it is sincerely appreciated.  A pat on the back goes a long way in helping to fuel an employee’s motivation and enthusiasm.

  1. Follow through with commitments 

A manager’s failure to follow through with commitments jeopardizes the amount of trust and confidence an employee is willing to give them.  If you say you’re going to do something – do it.  Follow-through conveys character, dependability and respect.

When a manager fails to deliver on his or her promises team members often become cynical and pessimistic.  Employees will also see their manager’s lack of follow- through as a license to exhibit the same bad behavior. 

        10. Give both responsibility and authority

If you assign certain responsibilities to your team give them everything they need to succeed.  Provide them with clear direction, the proper resources and the authority to make the decisions necessary to get the job done.

Assigning responsibility without authority is not only an exercise in frustration, but it can convey a lack of trust, reflect a need to over-control and foster a sense of dependency. It’s a sure-fire way to cause them to disengage and develop an attitude of, “It’s not my job – I don’t know – I don’t care.”  Not exactly the road to success for your company!

As much as we all enjoy grumbling about going to work at times, deep down people want to work, use their abilities and creativity, make a difference and contribute.  These opportunities produce a great deal of satisfaction in life.  As a manager, if you help your team achieve satisfaction at work, you will all be happier to go to work each day, you’ll have fewer sick days, and your company will thrive.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

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