Morale. It’s so important to a team’s success. Chances are, we’ve all experienced a lack of morale at some point along the way. Even if a team is composed of weak or unskilled players, strong morale can be the one important factor that keeps them focused and in the game. Similarly, a team of MVPs can fall to defeat when morale is low.
So what causes low morale?
In the cases when I’ve most often observed low morale, there’s usually a consistency in either a lack of passion from leadership, a mistrust of leaders in place, or patterns of constant change or instability. Team members need passionate leaders and coaches who are present and accessible (within reason). The most trusted leaders are those who cast strong vision, empower the players’ talents/skills, encourage and affirm team progress, and invest in the players. And obviously, a team in constant transition of players, policies, and practice techniques will almost always struggle with low morale, based on the sheer fact that healthy teams need time to bond, train, and grow together for chemistry and balance.
More importantly, how can one work to ensure a steadfast state of high morale?
Whether or not any of the above factors are in play within your organization, the power of maintaining a strong team morale is essentially in your own hands. Consider these 3 tips for boosting morale.
- When you start to see a drop in morale, maybe it’s time for you to step up your game and lead from within. Can your teammates see your passion? Remember that it often takes just a small spark to ignite a giant flame. Also, be on the lookout for ways to fan the flame of other teammates’ passions.
- Don’t trust your current leadership? Maybe it’s time to get to know your leader better. Ask him or her to lunch (if possible). Read his or her blog. Send them handwritten notes of encouragement. Often, what leads to a lack of trust is a lack of understanding. Get to know your leaders.
- While change is inevitable, consider its benefit. Sure, we hate to see players leave the team. But sometimes a strong player’s exit can open the door to strengthening your own weaknesses. What new talents and skills can you bring to the team that was previously being repressed? And, with time, we often find that new players sometimes bring that missing ingredient for your team’s success. Give change a chance.
Are you currently seeing a dip in morale within your team’s environment? If so, what are some other causes or trends you’ve observed in contributing to the lack of morale?
How do you contribute to maintaining high team morale? What advice would you give to others dealing with this within their organizations?