Morale and Motivation

What is the source of motivation?

Can motivation be instilled, or is it something that individually control?

In workplaces today, you may hear comments that morale is down, what is the leadership going to do improve morale?  I don’t see this is a leadership issue, but more as an individual issue.  The part of morale that can be improved through leadership is when it comes to influencing a positive culture where team members are self motivated and feel valued.

As a leader, the right question that should be asked of your team is what motivates people individually in the workplace?  Why do people come to work everyday, and what drives them to continue to give 100% each day?  If, as a leader you are having those types of one on one conversations with your team, regardless of the level, you are well on your way to having positive and engaged morale within the workplace. 

In my environment, I feel very disconnected from what is going on when I have those days that I am behind closed doors.  It’s as important for me to be out with team seeing what is working, or not working for them; coaching them when the opportunity presents itself; and if nothing else just having informal conversations about what is going on with people individually. 

It is important that individuals feel connected with all levels of leadership, maybe not on a personal level, but at least on a genuine, interpersonal level.  It is important to remember where we came from in the workplace, and how we can use our experiences to mentor others for future success.  I have found that these connections are key to keeping morale positive, and individuals motivated to do their very best.

By nature, I am huge introvert, although, most that interact with me will wholeheartedly disagree.  If you invest connecting with people where they want you to connect with them, trusting relationships occur.  It is incumbent on us as leaders to develop and maintain those trusting relationships on a daily basis to ensure a positive culture exists.  When the culture is positive, morale is high and self motivation is increased.  People want to contribute more as a result.

The best environments are where team members feel that they “get” to come work and “want” to be part of something larger than themselves.  I love the fact that I “get” to go to work everyday, because I am motivated to have a positive impact on others everyday!

Have a great week!!

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13 thoughts on “Morale and Motivation

  1. What you are talking about here applies to leadership on a low level in an organisation. Or in a small company. In a multinational company, or even a medium sized one, it's impossible for a CEO to talk to all employees on a regular basis. There simply isn't time to do so. However, the situation you are describing only happens when there is a failure of leadership in a company. The main reason for that is that far too many so called leaders are in fact managers even though they regard themselves as leaders.Managers take away motivation because staff are given orders and not made to feel part of the company and wanting to contribute to reaching its goals.

  2. I enjoyed your post. Office or a company morale over all can be a slippery slope if that is not watched carefully. Leadership is so much more then telling someone what is expected of them and what they need to improve upon. A true leader will manage the whole person, not the individual that occupies a seat. It takes observation, conversation and trust to make that happen, doesn't it? :-), Susan Cooper form LinkedIn BHB

  3. i struggle with one particular employee — i remotely manage a group of four and she is entirely resistant to being a team player, thereby lowering the morale for the group. she brings in results though. i see her perhaps four times a year and really prefer to avoid phone interactions because she is so combative. i dont have the authority to fire her simply because she's got a sour attitude. any tips for that?

  4. I still look back fondly of a particular work place. Morale was very high, social interactions were high on the menu and it was great to get up every day. I stayed for 12 years! I tried to take that with me to other places, but they weren't so accommodating.

  5. I'm reminded of Daniel Pink's book "Drive." One of its many fine messages is that when corporate leaders value their employees as much or more than revenue generating customers, that the morale and company thrive. Creating motivation isn't just reliant on pep talks or inspiration. Leaders, whether they are running a company or a family, can act to solicit ideas and feel good engagement from others. We feel good and get morale because we have done something worthwhile. More doing, more productivity, more results, more morale.

  6. Catarina – I agree that it is more of a challenge in a multi-national organization, however, it is possible to (pardon the cliche-jacking) to act locally, but think globally. In other words, stay true to the mission and vision of the global organization, but create the culture that makes the local office thrive versus their sister sites. The CEO has his tree, which he/she impacts, but each site leader can have an impact on their teams as well… Just my two cents in response, but, I do agree with you it is more challenging.

  7. Chad – Great question, and an interesting challenge. Some people you just have to be blunt with. Since it is her attitude, I would have a very frank face to face conversation with her as it is easier to become combative over the phone or video conference, versus in person. What was it that brought her to the team and is she exhibiting those same skill sets, or has she been soured. You are driving the bus and setting the expectations for your team. She can make the decision if the position is still the right fit, or if she needs to see if another organization might be interested in her talents. I have had those conversations with team members (obviously a different environment) on numerous occassions. Some didn't realize the effect they were having on the team, others didn't care, and as a result it effected their performance evaluations and work opportunities. You are in a tough position my friend, but the sooner you address it, the sooner it will improve or work itself out. Also, let your manager and HR know what you are doing and how you are handling the situation. The sooner you get your HR team behind you, the easier the road is going to be.

  8. Here from BHB on LinkedIn. I must say that I really connected with this post. I have worked both in a small office environment and in an international company. One of the things that impresses me is when the 'leader' of the international company comes walking through the work place and shakes hands with the employees. It makes them feel valued. I have also seen small employers fail miserably at making this kind of connection. If you are too big to make the connection, then you are too big. Great Post!

  9. I work mostly in a virtual environment and agree with this. It's even more challenging to build a strong team when everyone isn't in the same place. However, it's pivotal to do this to have a successful team. I think the best way to do this virtually is to ensure everyone stays in touch and makes regular use of the phone to have 1×1 conversations. It's too easy to shoot off an email but rarely as effective as a conversation.

  10. Motivation and morale; a voaltile combination. So which comes first, motivation or morale? Motivation comes in two flavors; intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic says, I am self motivated, therefore my morale is high and self-regulated. Extrinsic say, I need stuff to be motivated; I don't get stuff, I'm not motivated -my morale is low. This is quite the pickle.

  11. Adeline – My apologies for removing your comment! It was an excellent comment about how outside influences can impact a persons morale and motivation inside the office. I agree with your point and would add that regardless of what occurs outside of the office, it is important that the at work environment be an engaging environment, and one that a person should want to be at, kind of like a "safe place".Again, I was on my mobile device and my hand slipped and accidently removed your comment. I do appreciate you taking the time to read and post a comment!Mark

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