Keeping Team Morale

Andrew Schwabe

There is no doubt about it at some point in our history we have had to solve some tough problems with our team. Maybe it was a really tough project where the team is under a heavy load for some amount of time. Eventually, everyone around those types of situations becomes on edge. It is up to us, the leaders within an organization to not allow this to happen. So when the going gets tough, how do we mitigate the tension and keep our eyes on the prize?

If not doing so already, first start with regular conversations with individuals on the team. Listening to each member learn what is and what is not working from their perspective. It is important to actively listen during the one on one conversations, as passively listening will not build the confidence in each member that you are truly there to support them.

Next, open those conversations up the whole team. Communication is of the utmost importance on a team. This is not a time to play the blame game between individuals. As leaders, we have to act as the moderators during this discussion. Focusing the team on what is important for everyone, getting over the hurdles that everyone is facing. As these communication channels between members open up. One technique is to change the environment. Go out for a lunch and shift the discussion away from work. Setting a focus on individual bonds between the team members. The more a team relates to each other on a personal level the closer they want to work together, as it becomes personal. That personal relationship is a motivation on its own.

Another way to change the environment is to create flexibility in the weekly schedule. Generally, people want to innovate, they want to push their boundaries and keep improving themselves. Open the doors to innovation. I'd venture a guess that some of the one-on-one conversations mentioned above probably contained some hints in this direction.

Other than communication, the tasks at hand could just be too large or overwhelming. If that is the case, get others involved. Split the work up amongst other members of other teams. After all, everyone within the organization is a contributor to the cause. The system of teams has to work as a unit to continue moving the organization forward.

Of course, there is no exact science on how to improve the morale of every single team. The leaders and team have to find out what works best for them. Experimentation is one way to find what works best. One thing we do know is that the team is important. When the team begins to crumble, the organization begins to slowly crumble. It is everyone's responsibility to protect each other on this journey.

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