3 Simple Strategies to Boost Morale and Get the Best Results From Your Team
Nobody wants to have a business full of unhappy employees, and we all know that people do their best work when morale is high. Forget about the stereotypical "bad boss" on TV shows; all the entrepreneurs I've met and worked with genuinely cares about their team, wants them to win and wants them to enjoy themselves while they do the work.
The real obstacles to creating high morale are time, money and attention. We entrepreneurs already have extraordinary demands put on our time and attention, and we must track every dollar spent to make sure there's a healthy ROI. So, when it comes to morale-boosting, it's easy for us to worry about wasting our time, money and attention on something that is tough to measure.
Trust me: There is a huge, positive ROI to investing in the morale and culture of your team. There are plenty of other great articles that break down this ROI in detail, so I won't go into that here. Instead, I'll assume you're already on board with me that you need to invest in the morale of your team and now you just need a simple method for doing it.
To make that easier for you, I'm going to give you my three best techniques for boosting your team's morale so they can produce the best results.
1. Write Monday morning emails.
This is something I still do every week in my business, and it's one of my favorite recommendations for other entrepreneurs because you don't have to spend any extra money and it will only take you 10 to 15 minutes every week.
Every Monday morning, write an email to everyone on your team where you:
- Remind the team of your vision for the company in one or two sentences.
- Share a lesson you've learned recently that the team can apply to their own work.
- Ask the team for their thoughts on the lesson and any other feedback they have.
Now keep in mind: Just doing this for a month won't change anything in your business. This is something that compounds over time. If you make it a habit, you'll be amazed at how much your team members will grow from these lessons and thank you for sharing them. In fact, I've even had team members leave and later email me back to thank me and say they miss my emails.
The lessons themselves are a great opportunity for you as well, because the act of writing them out reinforces for you the behaviors and the values you need to succeed as a leader. I often tell my team that these emails are the most selfish thing I can do, because they help me grow personally and create a more effective team to support the growth of my business.
This is literally the easiest, fastest and least expensive (because it's free) method to start building a successful culture in your business. Start today.
2. Praise in public, criticize in private.
Your team is always going to get things wrong. In fact, they're going to get things so wrong that it makes you angry. This is true even if you have the most talented, hardest working and most dedicated people on your team.
Since training is cheaper than recruiting, your goal should always be to coach people up or coach people out. If you set high expectations for them and demonstrate that you truly believe in them, the people who belong there will grow into their true potential. And whenever possible, you should deliver that praise in public. That creates a positive spiral of accountability, because the team members you praise want to keep living up to the higher status you've given them.
By that same token, anyone who has a defeated mindset or secret agenda will filter themselves out. That's why criticism should always be constructive and not an act of punishment. Whenever you criticize someone in public, it feels always like an act of punishment. It sends people into panic and ego defense mode, which only escalates the problem and breeds resentment.
3. Have your team create a culture training course.
This part can potentially be time-consuming, but lucky for you, you don't need to it yourself. In fact, this is much more effective if you don't do it yourself and instead assign it to someone on your team.
Here's why: You will never be the sole creator of your business's culture. Once you get the ball rolling, it's up to the best and brightest members of your team to keep setting an example for their peers. Once you get to the point where you know who the star players are, pick out one of them and ask him or her to create a culture training course and deliver it to every new hire who joins the business.
Now you might be wondering, why does this have to be a whole training? Can't the team just explain the culture to new hires as they train on the job?
Think of it this way: For any business to succeed, you need to identify the mission-critical aspects of the work and create a training process to quickly get new hires up to standard, right? You can't have a successful auto body shop if the mechanic barely knows how to operate the machinery. You can't have a successful restaurant if the chef barely knows her way around the kitchen.
Your culture, and by extension your team's morale, is mission critical. If the culture breaks, you lose your competitive advantage. You don't close as many sales as you should, you don't grow as fast as you should and your top talent becomes easy pickings for poachers. That's why you need to train people on the culture.
Plus, when you pick someone from the team to create the course, it gives your culture a level of credibility that you can't get anywhere else. People instinctively trust their peers in a way they don't necessarily trust their authority figures, especially when they're in a new environment. So, let your star players train newcomers on the culture while you take the time you've saved and apply it to building your empire.