Last week, I described the importance of employee morale, and how simple tasks like thanking, rewarding and sharing with your staff can go a long way.
This week, I round out my top 10 list with five more ways you can start boosting employee morale, which in turn will increase their productivity, with great potential outcomes for your company.
6. Show them. This goes along with sharing, but now we get quantitative. Showing performance data to employees at all levels is amazingly powerful. It taps into each employee’s competitive side, whether that means out-achieving one’s rivals or oneself. Just seeing the data lets employees connect their actions with the organization’s output, and that’s good for morale. Even when the overall picture is bad, there’s always good news somewhere. Find it and draw attention to it.
7. Listen to them. The knowledge and expertise that resides within the minds of your workforce is an underutilized resource. Any one of your subordinates chosen at random could tell you something important you don’t know. As a group, their expertise dwarfs yours. Ask lots of questions, listen to what they have to say, and show them that you value (and act on!) their opinions.
8. Unleash them. People do their best work when they’re given a goal and let off the leash to accomplish it their own way. Don’t dictate how things should be done; just communicate the end result you’re looking for and let them run. Individuals vary so much, it’s always better to let people apply the work behaviours they have found to work for them rather than dictating how things should be done. Remember that they won’t trust you unless you trust them first.
9. Join them. Show some team spirit yourself by getting involved. If all hands are on deck dealing with an urgent challenge, you should be there. This has to be done sparingly or you risk neglecting your other responsibilities or being perceived as having to throw your two cents into every issue. But a leader should be seen to be leading from the front. You can’t spend too much time there, but be sure to get into the trenches from time to time to show you’re still in touch.
10. Develop them. Virtually every manager knows they have a responsibility to “develop” the people they manage, but many don’t know what it really means. It doesn’t mean you need to help them fix their weaknesses or get promoted, though that’s usually how it’s interpreted. The better route is to help employees find out what they’re really good at, what they really like, and where they belong. This is a long road, but there are quick wins to be had. Help each individual find ways to do more of the things they’re good at and less of the other stuff and you’ll have higher morale and a more engaged workforce.
Jay Lebo is one of the founders of Gravitas Business Architects, and has been helping companies multiply growth and outperform the competition for more than a decade.