As a leader, one of your greatest assets is the morale of your team. How you wield your influence can profoundly affect the culture of your organization. The more intentional and consistent you are in building the culture, the greater the benefits you will see from your leadership. That’s why it is so important to create a Team Culture in your company.
Most of the time morale is noticed only when it’s not there. No one typically thinks about morale if it’s good. You will do everyone on your team a favor if they don’t have to notice the (lack of) morale in your company.
Here is a five-step process you as a leader can use to build morale in your company—and create a Team Culture in the process.
1. Know where you are going
Have a vision for your company. Knowing where you are going as a company will help you have the focus for the direction of your company.
Your team is looking for leadership. And they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to come to work and know that the work they do will move the company forward toward a big vision.
Blake Mycoskie had a vision of selling 10,000 pairs of shoes—and giving 10,000 pairs of shoes away. While on vacation in Argentina, he discovered the alpargata—the national shoe of Argentina—and how comfortable it was. He also discovered countless children without shoes. Being a serial entrepreneur, he decided to create a company that would produce the alpargata shoe for Americans. And every time he sold a pair of shoes, he would give a pair of shoes to a child in need. And so TOMS was born. (Today he has sold—and given away—millions of pairs of shoes.)
You can have a similar effect on your team. Ask God to give you a big vision. Then help your team understand that what they do every day is part of bringing about that vision. Having that perspective will bring meaning and excitement to daily and even menial tasks and build morale for your team.
2. Know how to be the poster child
Know how you want to conduct yourself as a leader. Then commit that to writing. So everyone else will know what will be acceptable behavior and what will not be.
It is important to determine what values will guide your personal behavior. Once you know how you will do what you will do, then that will help you make decisions. It will clarify what is important to you, and it will help you create the culture of your company. But you have to be vigilant with your culture.
Harvard and Yale both started off as Christian institutions to train pastors, but they both lost their way. Over time, they both watered down their founders’ intent, so that they no longer look like what they were founded to do.
You can build morale and create a Team Culture in your company. But it won’t happen by itself. Creating culture requires intentionality in design. It also requires consistency in implementation.
3. Know why you’re there
Believe that the work you do is significant. Have a purpose behind your company bigger than your company. By believing that your work matters, your team will be energized to come to work today—because they will see that their work has meaning.
No one wants to think that what they do isn’t important. Help them to see that their job makes a significant impact in the grand scale. Cultivate a passion in your team for the work they do because of the impact it will make.
John Mackey and Raj Sisodia state in Conscious Capitalism, “Purpose is something we can never take for granted; the moment we do, it starts to be forgotten and soon disappears. It has to be at the forefront of consciousness (and therefore decision making) literally all the time. … Purpose-informed decision making is a critical connection point between clarity of purpose and superior performance, financially and otherwise.”
Inspire your team to do great work by reminding them why you do what you do. Believing that your company has higher purpose will have a transformational effect on your team—and on you.
4. Know what you do matters
Make sure that you work at your best. Develop a performance mindset, so everyone will realize that their performance is important. That way everyone around you will see that their work ethic is important.
Value every person’s work on the team, and make them feel valued. Help them see that whatever they do, it is important to you. Everyone needs to realize that they matter to the team, and what they do matters to the team.
This team concept is similar to the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). All the members of the body have to see themselves as part of the body. If they don’t see how they fit as part of the body, then the body doesn’t function as it should.
Everyone on the team needs each other to be successful. Only when your team is internally strong can it be externally focused.
5. Know who is counting on you
Understand that everything you do as a leader has ripple effects. That’s why it’s important to be at your full potential. What you do will affect everyone around you—because they are looking for you to set the tone.
The tone you set will then be reflected throughout the company. If you show through your actions that a team environment is important, then everyone else will believe it is important too. For your company to benefit from a Team Culture, everyone at your company needs to see themselves as part of the team.
A college football team will not win games if they don’t play like a team. Even if they have outstanding players, they will only be a team if they act like a team. Otherwise, it is only a collection of good players.
A Team Culture doesn’t just happen. It has to be carefully cultivated. The people on your team have to believe that if they expend the effort, it won’t be for nothing. They have to see that you will be a solid source of strength when things get tough, and that you are willing to put forward the same level of effort that you expect them to put forward.
Your will build morale in your company as you create a Team Culture—with intentionality of design and consistency in implementation.
Did you know that I
* Perform organizational culture assessments,
* Coach leaders how best to lead their teams, and
* Train teams how to best perform like a team?
To find out more, check out my new book, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew.
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