Let’s talk about morale. What is it? Why should leaders care about it, and what leadership strategies can they adopt to motivate their teams and unlock the hidden power source of ‘morale’.
A definition is as good a place to begin as any. The Oxford Dictionary tells us morale is “…the amount of confidence and enthusiasm, etc. that a person or a group has at a particular time.” Applying this specifically to the business of business, Henry Ford famously said: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Unprecedented pressure on morale
Both memes are worthy of a deeper look. The Oxford definition includes the vital definer “…at a particular time.” With the Covid-19 virus ripping up carefully-laid business plans, forcing colleagues to work apart remotely and destroying or radically changing market conditions, many organisations are facing unprecedented pressure on morale. The real danger is that, if the team sinks into despair, it enters the negative spiral where getting even the smallest thing done becomes just too difficult. If this continues, people literally stop trying.
Mr Ford was known as a man of relatively few words, but when he did speak, he often spoke profoundly. The key in his statement above is “What you think…” In other words, self-belief is important. This applies at the team and company levels as much as it does individually.
So industry and business leaders are faced with a huge challenge; they need to find ways to keep their teams motivated and morale high so that the company can rise above the current situation.
A leader may just have come from a board meeting which was wall-to-wall gloom and despondency – imagine, for example, some of the top-level meetings in industries like aviation, where revenue has in some cases plummeted by 60% and more during Covid. That hapless leader, with an enormous weight of responsibility on his/her shoulders, now has to somehow find the tone and the right words to address his key teams and generate motivation and morale – the only qualities that have a chance to lead the company through the dark times, ready to emerge in good shape for the recovery.
Great leaders throughout history have faced parallel situations, where they needed to deliver cold, hard facts about an existential challenge, but then inspire their people to give it everything they’ve got in response. Giving up is simply not an option.
The Anthony Gregg Partnership understands the power of morale and its extreme importance at this particular time. We also understand the personal support and coaching leaders may need in specialist areas like Emotional Intelligence, Conflict Resolution, Crisis Communications techniques and related personal development fields.
As we began with a quote, let’s end with another, this time from Dwight D Eisenhower:
“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”