Work Morale Boosters (During Tough Times)

By Nan Nan Liu-Maffetone | Strong Female Leaders
Reading Time: Approx. 7 minutes
Target Audience: Professionals, Professional Women, Women in Leadership Positions, Team Leaders

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Feeling challenged in the morale department?

You are not alone. During these tough times, we all feel the burden of COVID19, corporate downsizings, and the stormy political climate. As the leader of your team or community, you feel the need to instill workplace morale boosters.


But how?

Fortunately, employee morale booster ideas are not created to get people to instantaneously forget their troubles. In fact, having high morale means adding people’s emotions to, and not subtract from, how the team achieves its goals. The best work morale boosters actually emerge in historically tough times, including wars, economic depressions, and national crisis.


Leaders do not, and cannot, instill happiness.

They can, however, lead their teams to focus on what's important. They can inspire people to do great work, feel valued, and with some luck, be happy at their jobs.


Work Morale Boosters (During Tough Times)
1. Advocating Value
People are inspired by doing or creating something that adds value to the greater community. In other words, people want to feel proud of their work. Most of them show up at work and give their best because they believe in what they do.

When people experience layoffs, budget cuts, and other types of uncertainties, their belief system crumbles. As much as you'd like to change their mindsets, you simply cannot change the way people think. Instead, change what you can control: that is to shift your team's focus on what value they bring to the world.

For example, focus on: the hours users would save from the app that your team produces; the number of viewers who can access your online tour of a house on the market; or, the people you inspire by publishing the articles that your content team writes.

You can also tackle it from the angle of what would happen when your team stops doing their job. Whatever tactic you choose, the goal is to put things into perspective for your team.
2. Being Transparent
Transparency breeds confidence. During an all-time emotional low, it is crucial that leadership explains in detail what is happening, why it is happening, what will happen, and what it means to each individual. To elevate morale, you must give people a peace of mind, even if what you disclose isn't the most pleasant of facts. The worst decision you can make right now is to leave people in the dark to wander about blindly.

Being transparent builds trust, bridges gaps, answers questions, and offers assurance.



3. Listening Actively
Even though you cannot solve everyone's issues, you can at least be there to listen. In stressful situations, people need to alleviate tension. Being able to express their anger, anxieties, and other ill feelings can be just the remedy that they need to feel better. If you can address some of their concerns with action items, that's even better. At the least, though, they have an outlet.
4. Painting a Brighter Future
Though it is hard for people to realize at the moment, the future will be brighter. It is up to the leader, then, to help everyone realize it. Help them realize that: if the glass is half empty, it is also half full.

For example, if your company has just experienced layoffs, the remaining employee body will take on extra responsibilities. Help them realize the opportunity in this, by stressing how the extra projects can lead to other projects that add even more value. Or, if your team members have just suffered personal losses, help them realize how every challenge in life brings the opportunity to grow.
5. Giving People a Break
We all need a break, especially when morale is low. Encourage people to take vacations, personal time off, or other paid leave. Encourage them to stop working on work, and work on themselves. When people have time to relax and unwind, they come back refreshed, strong, and ready to be productive.
6. Recognizing Job Well Done
People enjoy feeling appreciated. During tough times, they need such appreciation even more. Find ways, big or small, to spotlight job well done, anniversaries, or when they lend help to others. When people feel appreciated, they feel valued.
7. Promoting Work-Life Balance
Do your team members homeschool their kids now? Do they have medical issues that require extra appointments? Are they going through relationship issues at home?

Most likely, the answer is "yes" to all of the questions above. During tough times, making the extra effort to accommodate to your team's difficult schedules boosts morale greatly. When you understand that people have other priorities, and make a point to honor those priorities, you create a safe work environment that people enjoy. Your team members will be grateful and, in response, put in extra effort.

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[ Disclaimer: this article includes affiliate links.]

Products That Help Boost Work Morale
1) Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve
"Lead each person on your team up the learning curve."
2) When Fish Fly: Lessons for Creating a Vital and Energized Workplace from the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market
"You can energize your people and delight your customers by modeling the fabulous ideas that come from the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market." -- Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager

The Big Book of Team-Motivating Games: Spirit-Building, Problem-Solving and Communication Games for Every Group

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[ Disclaimer: this article includes affiliate links.]

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