For many, working from home may have been ‘living the dream’ in pre-pandemic times but this new daily reality has now opened the eyes of many workers around the world.
Sitting in their kitchens, their bedrooms or their home offices, instead of being distracted by the chatter in the office, their thoughts have gone inwards; inside their heads, they have been telling themselves stories about why they are doing what they are doing and whether or not they really have the heart to continue with it.
These internal conversations may centre on the leaders in their organisations and how well (or badly) they have been supporting them whilst they struggle with home educating, lack of office space and an ever-increasing shift in work/time boundaries. Some of these employees may be on the verge of leaving.
For many, these thoughts are just dreams; they know they have to carry on, to put food on the table and pay the bills. But their feelings of frustration – towards their bosses, supervisors, managers or directors – may be beginning to fester.
Why building morale is THE most important challenge for leaders across the world in 2021.
I truly believe, however, that these thoughts can be quickly transformed if the leaders of these organisations put a greater percentage of their daily work into raising the morale of their employees.
So what is morale and how can an emotionally intelligent leader use morale to support their team?
Morale goes up when leaders focus on changing their attitude and conduct towards their employees, which often results in higher levels of confidence felt by a group of people in a challenging situation.
Morale building sits within Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in the layers of ‘love and belonging’ and ‘esteem’. In my view, money is not a morale booster. Money sits within the layer of ‘safety needs’ and is a necessity in our world to keep ourselves secure.
According to a Gallup survey from 2016: ‘only one in three workers in the US strongly agreed that they received recognition or praise for doing good work’ in a seven-day period.
With the pressures of the pandemic, leaders may now be doing this even less than they were before.
So, if you are one of these leaders, my message is this: keep it simple and prioritise creating a better connection with your employees, across the whole week, in ways that are both manageable for you and meaningful for them.
In my own personal experience as an employee and as a leader, these tips work:
Whichever way you choose to connect with your team, make sure it is one which is not merely bolted on to their day or yours. That will only end in more resentment and frustration and a sense of duty. Remember, you want to boost morale not deflate it!
In this current climate, it is easy to get bogged down with process and procedure. If you reflect and find that’s you, then you are missing out on the key component in your organisation – PEOPLE
So, make morale-boosting the top item on your agenda every day, every week and not only will you improve statistics on employee surveys but you will also improve the chatter inside your employees’ heads as they support you to build your organisation and business.