Do you want to improve morale?

Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal.
Aristotle
384 B.C. – 322 B.C.

Do you work in an office where morale is low? Is your home life filled with tension and poor relationships? Are you in a social organization where the atmosphere is strained? Would you like to somehow change those conditions?

I was walking through a mall a few weeks back and couldn’t help but notice a young man wearing one of those message T-shirts. This one really caught my attention; the message was: “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

I loved the message because it makes a great point. You will never improve morale using the methods most people employ. You can’t force others to like you, their job, or their surroundings, no matter how hard you try; you’re fighting a losing battle. Unfortunately, I see people struggling with it all the time.

While I think we’re all smart enough to know that we can’t improve morale with beatings, we still engage in efforts that are equally doomed. So how can you improve the attitude of the people around you?

You can start by recognizing that there are basic human needs which we all share. While this list isn’t intended to be complete, here are some of the things we all need: to have meaning or purpose in our lives; to feel like we’re making a difference; to be winners; to have some control over our lives; to feel we’re important; and to be respected.

One of the biggest mistakes I see from people in leadership positions (such as managers, parents, or spouses) is trying to dictate the behavior of others. When we micro-manage someone, we take away their sense of control; we aren’t respecting them as individuals. People can’t feel empowered when they’re being told what to do and when and how to do it.

If you truly want to improve morale and thereby better the environment in your office, home or social organization, you must understand what drives behavior and make sure your actions encourage people rather than suppress them.

You’ll never be able to force improvements in morale. But you can greatly enhance morale and relationships by taking time to understand what we all want and need in life — and then make sure you’re doing the things necessary to satisfy those needs.

I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.
Jackie Robinson
1919 – 1972

Copyright © 2019 John Chancellor


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