Improving Overall Team Morale by Eliminating Negativity

When negativity creeps into your workplace it causes low morale, derails productivity, and can decrease cooperation among even your most productive workers.  Because low morale has the potential to move from one worker to another like the flu, it’s important that you speak to unmotivated employees as soon as you notice behavioral issues. The tips will help you speak with employees that have negative attitudes.

  1. Clearly communicate what they should be accomplishing and why.
    Being a manager, it’s easy to assume that all of your employees share the same goals and intentions as you do.  You discuss your goals among your peers and supervisors in team lead meetings, but it’s important to remember that your whole team isn’t there. The underlying issue of a demotivated employee is often times that they are uninformed.  If an employee seems disconnected, take the time to have a talk with them and make sure they know what tasks you need them to accomplish and why.  “Why” enables people to make educated choices in how to accomplish their day to day work because they can see the bigger picture of how it affects the organization.  They can then set goals and measure their effort.
  2. Explain the rules.
    Giving employees a task without rules or parameters can be a major source for low office morale.  Ever spent countless hours working on a project only to be told you need to change direction because of guidelines you were never informed about?  You know how frustrating that can be.  If you do find out this is the cause of an employee’s frustration, be upfront and apologetic.  Trying to cover up your mistake will only place a burden on your relationship with the employee and cause distrust among the entire team. If parameters weren’t clearly communicated in the beginning, communicate them now and offer any assistance you can to get the project back on track.
  3. Get them engaged.
    An employee is more motivated to succeed at the things they choose to work on.  Be sure to involve employees in choosing team goals and making decisions.  At the very least, you should involve them in deciding how to achieve the goals.  Decision making generates personal buy-in and positivity.  This technique has been used for years in the NFL.  Even though coaches spend countless hours watching game films and looking for both their team and competitors’ weaknesses, they also involve their team in deciding the best way to win.  They know that no matter how much film they watch, they aren’t the ones on the field playing the game.  This relates back to the office in that the employees who are in the midst of the day to day action can have different perspectives than their managers who are only near the action.  Take employees perspectives into account, or they’ll feel like nobody is listening to them and low morale will ensue.
  4. Discuss goals.
    Successful leaders know what makes each employee tic.  They make sure they’re helping employees articulate their future goals.  If an employee isn’t giving 100% effort, it usually means there is a disconnection in the work they’re doing and their personal goals.  Try to find out what the underlying cause is.  Understanding the disconnect enables you to see things in the same perspective as the employee.  You’ll be able to talk their language and realign responsibilities to the person’s area of interest.  Find links between the employee’s goals and the organization’s goals, and match them up.

It’s important to remember that low morale is an emotional issue and needs to be dealt with immediately.  Don’t let poor leadership be the reason one employee affects your whole office.  If you’ve monitored their progress, and you’re still having issues with the employee being unmotivated, it may be time to move them off the team. You can’t risk one problem employee draining energy from other coworkers and causing low morale to spread like wildfire.


The first step to making sure your employees are motivated is hiring the right employees for your organization.  At BOS Staffing, we understand how important the right staff is. Contact us today to see how we can help you find motivated employees for your open positions.

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