Morale can be described as the mental state of being in one’s purpose. Team motivation is intrinsically linked to morale. As exciting and challenging a task may be, if there is a problem with morale, it can very quickly run through the team and lead to underperformance. Reasons for low morale vary considerably and range from the banal to the very serious. In order for morale to be restored, it is necessary to know the nature of the problem causing the low morale.
Individual Morale Problems
Low morale in one of your team members is usually not difficult to identify. It is easily observed in the team member’s posture, attitude and performance. There are many factors that can affect morale and detecting why a particular team member is unhappy can be difficult. How a team leader deals with the issue of low morale is crucial and can influence how well the team performs.
Once low morale in a team member has been identified, the situation must be carefully addressed. Make sure the team member is not just having a low day. If a team member shows signs of low morale over a prolonged period, sensitively approach them and ask them how they are doing. Ask the question in a relatively conversational tone. Do not be concerned if there is not much of a response from the team member; it is important that they know that you are concerned about them and that help is there if they need it.
Low morale in a team member that continues over time will undoubtedly become detrimental to team member and the team. It is vital that the team leader explores every avenue to ensure that the team member’s morale is lifted. They need to know that there is support available for them.
Addressing Team Morale
No matter how talented a side may be it will rarely achieve success if the members do not operate as a team. Teams with limited ability can out-perform more gifted teams when everybody works together and sacrifice their individual gratification for the collective good. Team spirit is vital to the performance of a team, how people work together is governed by how they relate to one another.
There are several different dynamics that operates within a team. Having good team morale depends on ensuring that team members are comfortable with each other and able to work together. Conflict within a team is certain to affect the morale of both the team members and the team as a whole. For the team leader, it is essential to ensure that conflict within a team is minimized.
The team leader can influence the team morale in an either a proactive or reactive manner which can contribute to its building or its destruction. Team conflict needs to be handled in a fair manner, and the team leader must be seen to be impartial. Favoritism must be avoided at all cost, and decisions need to be made that may be unpopular with some of the team members. Conflicts can be over in days, but a reputation for bias sticks for good.