Measuring Morale

All managers seek to have a work environment where morale is high. We intuitively know that this will lead to greater productivity. But how do you measure morale?  Asking people, “How’s the morale around here?” is not likely to get you an honest answer if employees think a real answer could get them in trouble.

In an article in Forbes, Peter Stewart, a Business Psychologist, and Managing Partner at Stewart Leadership, offered some ideas:

Gauge how committed is each team member to the team?

Dr. Stewart says, “A member lacking commitment may display an indifferent attitude to opportunities for team improvement because they don’t believe that their input matters. Asking employees’ opinions can communicate a desire for collaboration among differing leadership levels, further boosting morale. The commitment may become temporarily lost within a team, but this does not mean your team is doomed. “

Do the team members believe they can achieve success?

The more confident staff members are in seeing a successful future, the more they will believe in possibilities. As Dr. Stewart said, “Team members must believe that their efforts matter. Focus on developing a sense of psychological safety to get the creative ball rolling on new ways to achieve success in an environment that welcomes diverse ideas, perspectives, and experiences.

How does the team bounce back and manage through obstacles?

Leaders should keep the teams focused on the big picture.  Too much time spent “in the fog of daily hurdles” will make them feel trapped and reduce morale. Dr. Stewart told the magazine, “Team members who can see past obstacles and maintain a positive mindset will be more resilient. In my experience, teams that problem-solve together can produce a better result 80% of the time, in addition to increasing team buy-in.”

The Forbes article got me thinking about the “little” things we can do to help our team members feel better about their work and workplace.

We need to show growth in our organizations and support individual growth

When staff members see an exciting future ahead, most are likely to buy in. They also appreciate when the organization respects their need for increased skills. Never let get employees to get bored.

Leaders provide clear expectations and honest evaluations.

No one wants to be left wondering if they are doing the right thing. In addition to setting clear expectations, it is essential to meet regularly to review progress towards goals.

Praise publicly and loudly.

The Gallup Company found that “Workplace recognition motivates, provides a sense of accomplishment and makes employees feel valued for their work. Recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement but it also has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.”  Look for ways to praise good work.

Survey employees

While employees are less likely to tell the boss how they honestly feel about morale, your organization should seek anonymous and regular feedback. Ask questions like, “Do you enjoy our company’s culture? Do you find your work meaningful? Does our organization give you the tools and technologies you need to do your job well?  Do you understand the long-range goals of our group, as well as how your work fits in?  Do you feel appreciated? Once you have the data, pledge to act on the findings. Survey periodically to look for changes.

What ways do you use to measure and improve morale with your group? I have many more ideas in my book, “Be A Leader Not Just A Manager.” You will learn how to motivate your team as well as how to deal with difficult issues of our time. Buy “Be A Leader Not Just A Manager” and watch your comfort level increase.

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