Effective Managers Elevate Team Morale to a Fever Pitch and Score Results

Psychologist, Author, Speaker
7 min read
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"The leader shows that style is no substitute for substance." 
 Lao Tzu  

The most effective strategy in assembling and managing a group of people to work together is to make each person feel like an essential part. When each person satisfies that the basic human need -- to feel a part of something bigger -- he or she is less likely to be focused on selfish desires.

Each team member must be motivated to link his or her success to the success of the group. Promoting optimism is essential. A high morale is contagious. It improves a group's cohesion, making it more powerful.

Leaders must place team members in an organized, dynamic environment where they can become infected with enthusiasm for carrying out the goals at hand.

Related: 9 Steps to Building and Coaching a Killer Team

1. Bond the team.

Effective managers seduce members of a team to hunger for and believe in the business goals on the table. To unite the team, managers must convince its members of that the goal is one worth pursuing and fill inner emptiness with excitement about the team's agenda.

Managers understand that bringing people together around a lucrative possibility creates a powerful motivational force for the group. Teams thirst to believe in something, and the possibility of success and money can offer strong reinforcement.

2. Take care of needs.

Leaders must be attuned to the fact that team members cannot stay motivated if their material needs go unmet. Bonuses must be given along the way, otherwise the selfishness of group members will surface.

Without compensation, they will begin to feel exploited or used for their time and effort and begin to lose interest in the group.

When managers create a protective emotional climate -- one that makes participants believe their needs are being considered and taken care of -- team members remain motivated and connected to the group's larger purpose.

If managers pay attention to these material needs, they'll find it easier to ask for more from the group at a critical time.

3. Practice what's preached.

The initial excitement of working on a joint goal may diminish over time. Managers can keep team members engaged by not letting boredom seep in.

Right from the beginning, set things up so group members see the manager as leading from the front, sharing in their uncertainties and sacrifices. When managers take goals as seriously as the group does, this provides members someone to look up to. The manager must be in the most visible position, inspiring members to run to keep up.    

4. Pay attention to the group's energy.

Effective managers understand the emotional energy involved in group dynamics and know how to work with it. Idle time has a detrimental impact on a group's momentum and progress. When members are not actively working toward their goal, their enthusiasm decreases.

This is when doubts can creep in and selfishness can take over. Managers must keep members of the team busy, prodding them to take action toward the goal. When people aren't working, their spirits go lower.

Leaders must propel the team forward, exciting them, making them hunger for acquiring new business and closing sought-after deals.

5. Play on emotions.

The best way to motivate people is not through intellect but through emotion. Managers who inspire others know that emotional appeals must be set up so that team members will lower their defenses.

When  defenses are lowered, group members can bond with one another. And it's in this environment that leaders can put on a show, entertaining and inspiring team members to commit to the goals at hand.

Such an atmosphere can be fostered at a team dinner or an event attended by members for the purpose of collaborating and bonding more deeply. In these situations, group members are more vulnerable and can be approached more directly, letting managers move them quickly from laughter to anger and then motivation.

Masterful managers have a sense of drama about them, knowing exactly when to hit people in the gut and when to make them feel like stars. 

Related: 10 Insights on Building, Motivating and Managing an Exceptional Team

6. Be somewhat unpredictable.

Superior management comes from finding the balance between reward and punishment. If a manager provides too many rewards, he or she will spoil the team and thus be taken advantage of.

When too much punishment is doled out, this destroys morale. Great managers know how to strike the correct emotional balance. They're also aware that displays of anger and punishment should be rare occurrences.

Harshness should come instead in the form of the setting of high standards that few can attain. This type of management will inspire group members to compete to please the manager. Great managers know how to provoke team members to wish to see less of their harshness and more kindness. 

7. Build the group's reputation.

Teams with the highest morale are groups that have been tested in meeting business goals. Individuals who have worked alongside one another through many campaigns forge a kind of group or company reputation, based on past victories and the quality of the work delivered.

Living up to this reputation becomes a matter of pride and any one member who lets the group down feels ashamed and prompted to set things right. To create the group's reputation, managers would be wise to start out with smaller deals that the team can close and thereby build morale and optimism.

Managers should create rewards, symbols of achievement or ceremonies honoring individuals further, fueling members' desire to continue belonging to this elite group.

8. Shed toxicity.

Grant complainers and the chronically disgruntled members any leeway, and their attitude will spread like a disease throughout the group. Intuitive managers know they must isolate or remove these people quickly from the team as it only takes one negative person to infect an entire group.

All groups contain a core of people who are more motivated, committed and disciplined than the rest. These are the ones that managers consider their “best.” The willingness of these players should be cultivated and these individuals recognized and set them up to be leaders within the group. Managers can use the stronger team members as counterweights against those who are apathetic or negative so that the team can reach success.

Great teams are defined by their leadership. Optimism, positivity and group cohesion are necessary for creating a successful business team and therefore a winning company.

A company is defined by its reputation and the team leaders who quarterback other members to achieve the overall success of the company. Great leaders strategize to bring about a situation whereby team members end up believing that they were the ones who succeeded in achieving the sought-after business goals. 

Related: 6 Things Effective Leaders Should Do to Inspire Their Teams

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