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How to Improve Your Team's Morale

Nathan Jamail January 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

Many times in business, as in life, people’s perspectives determine their attitudes more than any actual situation does. To improve morale is to change your team’s perspective versus looking for a golden answer. Leaders of an organization can spend all their time focusing on these changes and continue to experience negative emotions, or they can choose to change the perspective of their people. Which do you think is more productive and advantageous?

In some situations, a company may hire a motivational speaker to address the group about a tragedy and, as a result, employees get motivated and may be eager to make the best of their personal situation. Why is that? What happened was a change of perspective.

When leaders are faced with low employee morale, their job is to hold their team members accountable by teaching them to be grateful before they can be successful and happy even if they are not necessarily content.

Gratefulness before success

Everybody can be grateful for what they have, but more often than not, people forget to think about the good. It is all about perspective. Smart parents tell their children to be grateful for what they have, because there is someone out there who has it a lot worse.

It does not do any good to sympathize with employees when they are complaining about workload, removal of benefits or even pay cuts. In fact, bad morale is created when leaders and workers start to sympathize with each other on the struggles or unfairness of the job. The intent of these leaders is to show compassion and empathy for their team members and hopefully help them turn around their morale, but instead they end up confirming why morale should be bad. To improve morale, your spa’s leader must change the team’s perspective. This is not a cold or insensitive approach; it is an empathetic approach that says the feelings the person has are real, but may not be helpful or have a purpose. The leader’s job is to give the team member hope and understanding—not sympathy.

When a skin care facility’s team complains about workload increase due to others being laid off or people leaving the facility, the leader should discuss how the remaining employees have the opportunity to step up even more than before and challenge them to own the job. Each person has to decide if they are committed and willing.

Difficult times do not cause bad morale—the lack of gratefulness does. Leaders need to take a look at their team and their situation, and know they are the only ones who can change it. Morale is a result of the actions or lack of actions of the leader and the team. By adopting a positive attitude, the individuals win and the company can win again, which will come right back to the individuals in the long run. Every decision is a choice. Spa team members can stay and complain and be miserable, leave and hope for something better or truly change their perspective, be grateful and move forward with a purpose.

Stop searching for happiness

Deep down, everybody truly wants to be happy; however, people are not happy because they are successful—instead, they are successful because they are happy. A great leader must insist on all team members being happy, and if anybody is not happy, they should find a new place to work. Keep in mind that being happy does not mean being content. Life and business are games of competition with yourself. As people and as business leaders, one must always strive to be better and improve. When people stop trying to improve or learn, they become bored and content. Contentment is like quicksand; anybody can fall in it and it will continue to pull people down until they are gone, or until a leader challenges them and pulls them out.

If your organization is having a morale issue, look at the happiness of the team. Get in a happy state of being, and challenge yourself and your team to never just be content.

Nathan Jamail, author of The Playbook Series (Scooter Publishing, 2011), is also a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach. As a former executive for Fortune 500 companies, and owner of several small businesses, Jamail travels the country helping individuals and organizations achieve maximum success. A few of his clients include Fidelity, Nationwide Insurance, The Hartford Group, Cisco, Stryker Communications and Army National Guard.

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