Blog post,  Leadership

Keeping up team morale

It’s a month into 2021 and let’s be honest the world is not looking that much better.

  • We just passed 100 million cases of COVID worldwide.
  • The UK and Europe are in the strictest lockdown they have had, and Melbourne is in Lockdown 3.0.
  • Third world countries have not been able to source any vaccines as first world countries are stockpiling.
  • We won’t be travelling internationally for at least another year.
  • Jobkeeper is about to come to an end, having an unknown impact on the economy.
  • China still hates our agricultural sector.
  • Domestic travel feels risky, as we keep getting little outbreaks throwing cities into lockdown.
  • We might not be able to ‘Google’ by the end of the year.

At least Biden became president.

I mean it generally is looking to be another depressing year. With everything going on in the world, it’s hard to stay positive and upbeat.

Maybe it doesn’t feel that bad. In Canberra, we haven’t had a case in months, life is generally back to normal, and most people are returning to the office. Doesn’t matter, it’s still going to be another weird year.

Every team leader I have spoken to has told me that their teams are tired, flat, have lost that spark.

If you are one of those team leaders in charge of keeping morale in your team high, keeping them upbeat, what can you do?

Pause. Breathe. Reflect

Part of keeping people going is stopping. Taking time out as a team to reflect on how everyone feels and how you can support each other is key. Rather than just making everyone keep focused on work or running towards the next deadline, create space in your working week to check in with the team. Make sure you have regular one-on-ones, and all of your team leaders do too, have weekly team meetings, stop on a Friday afternoon for a drink or a Tuesday morning for afternoon tea.

Connect with others

The best way to keep morale high in the team is to create a connection between teammates. Building relationships and a support network at work for people to feel like they are ‘all in this together’. Have a team lunch, go out for a team walk, run a team building day. People need to feel connected right now, and we spend as much time with people at work as we do at home, so why not here.

Create a trusting environment

To do all of this, you need to create a trusting environment where staff feel like they can share their concerns and fears (no matter how irrational they seem). You can do this by being open and authentic – you go first, tell staff what is worrying you but what you are doing to counter your feelings. Don’t just dump your woes on your team, share what you feel grateful for, and feel positive about.

Be kind to yourself and others

Don’t forget it’s not about you doing it alone. It’s ok for you to feel a bit flat too. You won’t get this right every time. You will have weeks where you don’t feel like being positive. It is about you setting up the framework and culture to get everyone to support each other.

Good luck! It is going to be another tough year for leaders but it can also be one where you shine.

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