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Low Morale & Inaction: A Perfect Storm
Have you noticed that your team’s morale lately is low? Are employees less productive? Do you sense an overall tension or dread during staff meetings? Has engagement declined over time?
As a leader within your department or organization, taking action is imperative when noticing any of the above trends in the workplace. Employees trust their leaders to be concerned for the morale of the team and to visibly take action on their behalf. Maintaining the status quo may lead to increased turnover or employee burnout.
First, it is important to determine the cause(s) of morale. Is workload too heavy for the team? Are there difficult situations that have yet to be sorted out? Are there discussions that have not been brought to light for the team to thoroughly understand or work through? Are their internal or external stressors that are causing the team strife? Are there certain team members who are taking on the work of others or having difficulty with accountability? Is the group avoiding conflict?
Next, a determination should be made regarding what actions would be most helpful for the team based on the current environment and situation(s) which have caused low morale. Would a meeting to celebrate team accomplishments or highlight ‘glass-half-full’ perspectives be beneficial? Are there specific professional development needs? Does the team lack clarity regarding expectations of their performance or a current situation within the workplace?
In this leadership blog on inaction, six common mistakes leaders make that can demoralize a team are listed here:
- Disregarding certain team members or isolating team members
- Lack of clarity regarding measurable results or what behaviors are desired
- Inadequate feedback
- Overlooking the emotions of the team
- Forgetting high performers
- Neglecting one’s own professional development
Regardless of the current state of morale, regular inaction can lead to negative consequences over time. Managers and supervisors should take action in response to high-performing employees and low-performing employees. As this management article from Southeastern Oklahoma State University mentions, “when supervisors do nothing following worker behavior they often demotivate good performers and frequently encourage poor workers.”
Leaders, take heed of your team’s morale. Your team is your biggest asset.