January 23, 2017
In an increasingly competitive world, managers and HR professionals must be attuned to employee morale and productivity. Your company’s success depends more than ever on a motivated, energized team working together to achieve breakthrough results.
Here are five ways to improve morale and productivity in your workplace this year:
Commit with clarity
The number one cause of poor morale, performance problems, and subpar results is a lack of clarity. You can boost morale and productivity by communicating clear, shared expectations. Make sure everyone is on the same page: Does everyone on the team know what “winning” looks like? Do they know the key behavior that will help them to succeed?
Ditch the Diaper Genie
Your team needs direct feedback that will help them know what to continue and what to change. However, most managers struggle to give direct feedback. Like stinky diapers in the modern-day diaper pail, they wrap their feedback in layers of self-protection so that it doesn’t offend anyone.
It’s time to ditch the Diaper Genie feedback. Effective managers speak the truth. They solve the stink—they don’t try to cover it up or sandwich it between halfhearted compliments. Improve your team’s morale and productivity by having the tough conversations. Speak the truth with compassion.
“No one listens around here, they don’t know what I do, and they don’t care what I think.” These are the hallmark words of poor morale and lackluster performance. In contrast, effective managers recognize the value every person on their team contributes. They deliberately surround themselves with people who will challenge their thinking.
It’s not enough to have an “open door.” You need to actively seek out feedback. Ask your employees, “What is working to help you be productive?” Then ask, “As your manager, what is one thing I could do that would help you be more productive at your work?” Listen, respond, and watch your team’s morale and performance soar.
Own the ugly
Many managers avoid taking responsibility for their mistakes. They fear that apologizing will make them look weak or that they’ll lose credibility. In fact, the opposite is true.
When you make a mistake, hurt someone, or break your word—it’s not a secret. Your team knows, and they’re watching to see what you do. Can they trust you to own it? Will they see a leader who is strong enough to recognize his or her own vulnerabilities? Apologize, make it right, and move on. Your people will trust you, they’re more likely take responsibility themselves, and morale will improve.
Trust the trenches
You have a tremendous source of product knowledge, insights into customers, and performance improvements in your frontline employees. Unfortunately, most managers never get the benefit of these insights because they don’t ask.
Get to know the people closest to your customers or product and listen to what they have to say. Sometimes they may not know how valuable their observations can be. Help them learn how to recognize the opportunities, celebrate their success, and give them the credit when their idea works.
Your people are your number one competitive advantage. Invest in their (and your) success. When you consistently practice these five behaviors, you’ll see your team’s morale improve and their productivity increase, and you’ve built a foundation to sustain breakthrough results long into the future.