Skip to content

Diagnosing and Treating Low Morale, Part 1

by Daniel on July 18th, 2012

Employees who are “doing time” in the corporate world are familiar with Scott Adam’s Dilbert. This cartoon features the “Pointy Head Boss,” known for his complete disconnect from the concerns of employees and his resulting irrational, counterproductive plans and directives. If your employees appreciate these cartoons as not only funny, but true to life, your facility may have a case of the insidious, destructive and common workplace disease called low morale.

Some managers choose to ignore the signs and symptoms of low morale, telling themselves that it doesn’t matter, or hoping that maybe the problem will go away. Others attribute low employee morale to a few “bad apples,” figuring that getting rid of them will rid their facility of the negative attitude that seems to have settled over the club.

Managers who don’t do anything are kidding themselves that low morale doesn’t really matter. Low morale matters because unhappy employees may take out their unhappiness on your members. Think of your counter person. That face is the first one your members see when they enter the club. As a matter of fact, that face represents your whole organization. Don’t you want that face to be cheerful and smiling?

Fortunately, savvy managers can avoid this profit-draining problem by developing a finely calibrated low-morale detector. In their book Leadership When the Heat is On, author Danny Cox and contributor John Hoover suggest to be on the alert for the following signs of deteriorating workplace state of mind.

Uncooperative attitude

Do your staff members respond with enthusiasm to your requests, or can they barely contain their eye rolling? A survey conducted by the consulting firm Towers Perrin, and referenced in 1000 Ways to Energize Employees, revealed that 75 percent of employees polled believed that they could have a direct impact on their company’s success. If this belief burns bright in the hearts and minds of your staff, they will be more likely to help you achieve your shared objectives. However, if something destroys their faith in their ability to make a difference, they may start to resent you and everything you represent, and to view your requests as impositions.

Lack of enthusiasm

If you sense that employees aren’t enthusiastic about their work, perhaps you need to revisit the issue of work assignments. One aspect of the art of management is assigning people to jobs that suit them.

If people are assigned to the “right” jobs, but still display symptoms of low morale, they may need individual attitude adjustments, but more likely, the whole shop needs a tune-up.

Absence of commitment

Commitment thrives when people feel connected to the people, projects and results that consume their time. If your staff members are convinced that their opinions, thoughts and feelings don’t count, and that management is disconnected from them, then they have no reason to retain any emotional commitment to their work or their workplace. When their emotional commit- ment is gone, in all likelihood, soon they will be too.

From → Relationships

Comments are closed.