Question: How To Recover Flatlined Team Morale

Something big happened, something monumentally bad, and you can see it on everyone's face. Office morale has flatlined. Now we're scrambling to scrape employees' spirits off the bottom of the barrel.

Do you have tips on how to get the workforce moving and revive the office mojo?

2 Expert Insights

I use the assessment created by the Institute for Strategic Clarity. It was created by Harvard Researcher Jim Ritchie-Dunham. It looks at 5 key relationships that drive successful morale. I used it with a state agency in Ohio. The control group had low morale (assessed based on consulting work).  The agency had just split into two groups and employees were "fleeing" from the initial group. Even key participants in HR left at the first opportunity. I conducted the vibrancy assessment with a small group who had very high morale. Here is what I observed they did:
1. Created an micro-environment where employees felt appreciated and respected
2. Created a cohort group that was supportive under high stress environments
3. Created opportunities for individuals and groups to make a meaningful impact
4. Created opportunities for people to surface creative solutions to big problems where they were heard and respected
5. Created opportunities for individuals to pilot their recommendations and actually make a difference in the organization and with the at risk population they served.

The organizational split caused great stress in an already under-resourced organization. This sub-group showed high vibrancy scores during a very challenging time when the rest of the organization showed signs of great stress. I would be happy to discuss this further or recommend a conversation with the client and/or the Harvard researcher who developed this assessment and methodology.

Maureen Metcalf ([email protected])
CEO/Founder, Award winning author Innovative Leadership Book Series

As a manager or team leader it's really important that you quickly recognize when there's a lack of motivation on your team.
1. First you want to figure out what's going on. You want to talk to your team members to figure out is it a matter of lack of communication. Do people feel left out of the loop? Or do they find the work not inspiring. Or perhaps it's too much work, or even too little work so people are checking out because they feel bored.
2. Then when you are dealing with your entire team you want to make sure that you publicly recognize and celebrate all contributions regardless of how small or how large the role was that the employees play on a project.
3. You want to make sure that you promptly respond to calls or emails from your team members. Even if it's just to send a short message to let them know that you received that call or email.
4. Make sure that you keep your appointments whether those are one on one conversations and also to be on time for all team meetings. That shows that you value your employee's time as much as you do your clients or even your own manager.

For more strategies on how to assess and sustain team morale, view my videos on Teamwork & Motivation at:

Colette Ellis