One of the most interesting roles of the manager is the opportunity to build an engaged, motivated team.
Too often we rely on successes and wins to energise or revitalise the workplace spirit. The most dangerous attitude in the business world must be apathy, providing a constant threat to efficiency, productivity and ultimately profitability. Though morale needs nurturing and management, often we rely on skill levels rather than personality.
How to build morale in a team?
One such lesson that I learnt was when I was working in a family-run company. The business did well, yet the morale and atmosphere were built around the hub of its sales team, and the office environment was pretty flat. I just felt it could do a whole lot better. So, two things were introduced to bring change. The first was a great receptionist. The company Directors went looking deliberately for ‘sparkle’. It wasn’t the skill of the telephone system, the booking process or the industry knowledge, they went deliberately searching for that one person who everyone loved to talk to on the phone.
Finding the ‘sparkle’
And wow did they find her! She was an ex-holiday rep with a smile that flooded every intonation of tone and powered every greeting. She was loud, boisterous and pure joy. The clients loved her, the salespeople soaked up her enthusiasm, and the business suddenly had a face, a personality. The energy levels just soared – and how much do you think that sparkle was worth to the business? The phone and computer systems were something that over time could be taught, what she had was natural.
Too often resumes and experience, although logically an important component of a professional’s life, can too easily camouflage the depth of a person’s personality and character. Which as has just been demonstrated, can be so important in what a person can truly bring to the workplace.
Bring some fun to the working day
The second thing that was introduced was the ‘afternoon sweet run’. Such a simple thing that had a bit of fun and had so many hidden advantages! An injection of fun (and sugar) at 3pm every day did an amazing thing to raise the energy levels.
It gave the Director who was doing the round (and we had a different person each day) a great way of checking the ‘pulse’ of the business. They could visually assess the state of the team, while at the same time offering themselves in an informal situation to help develop rapport. Out of so many areas that I have tried in the past the sweet run held just so much magic. Such a small daily effort which said so much.
Often you may hear managers rhetorically thinking aloud that they wished they could find a cure for this or an answer to that, especially when dealing with morale. Sometimes the solution lies beyond the obvious CV skillset. Sometimes the answer lies in finding that one right catalyst.
What small change could you make to boost the morale of your team?