Like a Candle Deprived of Oxygen
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

We all know what it feels like to enter a room that has been drained of its energy. Like a candle deprived of oxygen; purpose, hope, and vision are snuffed out. Low morale has people wondering why they are there and leaves them yearning to find somewhere else to apply their giftedness. In my lifetime, there has never been a time when opportunities to change employment were as plentiful. Not only are the opportunities plentiful, but they will typically come with a better compensation package. Now, more than ever, leaders cannot allow low morale to exist in their organizations. So how do we overcome it? How can leaders correct this problem that lurks in our hallways, waiting to claim its next victim? Here are four steps that you can take to chase this away.

The Investigation – You need to start by looking at what is broken. What is the cause of the poor morale? Is it a system or process issue? Is it a nagging quality issue? Is it an issue of low expectations? Is it a lack of vision? As the proverb says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Once you find the problem, fix it. Whatever it is, you must fix it. Not just talk about it, but really fix it. This may involve tough choices. Don’t shy away from the tough choices.

Create Belief – To create belief, you need to have belief yourself. You need to believe in yourself and your team. Remember that anything worthwhile is uphill. It isn’t supposed to be easy, but the journey is worthwhile and can be very enjoyable and rewarding when traveled with the right team. Your team will see that you believe in them and the mission. They will borrow your belief even if they aren’t sure of it themselves.

Generate Positive Energy – It’s the leader’s job to create positive energy. Like negativity, positive energy is also contagious. When the leader is passionate about the journey, the team is energized and motivated. Leaders need to orchestrate early wins that will build momentum for the team. Soon, the team feels that they can accomplish almost anything.

Communicate Hope – Napoleon said, “Leaders are dealers in hope.” Being hopeful isn’t the same as focusing on positivity. Positivity is a feeling; hopefulness is a life stance. It’s a belief that things will be better based on plans and actions already underway. This allows the team to focus on reality with a view of a better tomorrow based on their efforts today.

If this topic has piqued your interest, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 225 of The Next Page podcast as we discuss in more detail how to overcome poor morale in an organization.

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