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Diagnosing and Treating Low Morale, Part 2

by Daniel on July 18th, 2012

Fault finding and complaining

Miserable people not only whine and complain a lot, but they are always looking for someone to blame for their misery. When you find the people who are doing all the blaming, you have probably found the people who are the source of the problem.

Tardiness and absence

People who like their jobs can’t wait to get to work in the morning. Miserable people try to avoid the place that is making them miserable.

Deterioration of work area appearance

Miserable people don’t care what the place that is making them miserable looks like. They don’t care if it is clean, or if it bums to the ground, as long as they aren’t around when it happens. They just want to get away from there as soon as they can, and stay away as often as possible; therefore, be particularly concerned if a previously well-kept workplace is suddenly a pigsty.

Breakdown in discipline and long faces

Miserable employees often feel powerless; therefore, they tend to “act out,” relying on passive-aggressive methods to express their disgust for the rotten atmosphere that management has created. Everyone has a bad day, of course, but if the faces of your employees make you feel like you are in the waiting room at the IRS, perhaps something is up.

When low morale becomes a rallying point

Do your employees gather in groups, whispering and looking around, only to suddenly become silent when you approach? What could they be talking about? Maybe how much they hate where they work.

What should you do about it?

Now that you are aware of the signs of low morale, what can you do to turn this situation around? The first step is to realize that most problems of low morale fall under two general headings, poor communication and impersonal management.

In terms of poor communication, two categories are worth mentioning. The first is lack of training and continuing education.

Most people want to do a good job, but sometimes they don’t know what that means because management has done a poor job explaining what is expected of them. The second is the lack of feedback. People like to know where they stand and how they are doing.

Pay attention to your employees, and to the overall “feeling” at your facility. Does it need a morale overhaul?

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