One of the most difficult things for a group of people to do is to change and move forward.
You’re the kind of person that wants to see legitimate growth and advancement, but you’re probably stuck wondering how because none of those ice-breakers or programs are getting you anywhere with your team. If you want to boost morale and inspire change, you’ve got to do things differently.
When people have been thinking and doing things for a long period of time, it becomes habit and the critical thinking skills get turned off. To start the growth process, you need to learn to cultivate those critical thinking skills in your people.
It can sure feel easy to remain the same, but the reality is that the cost of remaining the same is far more than the cost of change. You don’t see AT&T manufacturing rotary phones anymore, do you?
We all can have the tendency to slip into the monotony of just going through the motions, but especially if you are leading a group of people, the responsibility falls on you to help get these people going! The overall mood of a group will drag in the mud when the routine is the same and the expectations are either too low or too high.
So how do you go about fixing this problem?
Here are four simple ways to improve the morale of your organization and help them to advance forward.
1. Let Your Team Ask Questions & Actually Answer Them
Part of the problem that many companies and leaders run into is that they are too often run like a dictatorship, not a team. The only people building pyramids are slaves and the only ones inside of them are dead.
If you want real, healthy people on your team, you need to be able to loosen that iron grip and give your people the freedom to question everything that doesn’t directly conflict with your vision or your core values.
Encourage your people to ask good questions and demonstrate integrity by actually answering them to the best of your ability.
You do everyone a disservice by trying to answer a question you don’t really know the answer to.
If you don’t know the answer, be honest and say so. Not only will your team respect you for your honesty, but they will also view you as someone who has enough integrity to admit that they don’t know everything. Nobody likes fakery — so just be real with your team and let them poke at those well-guarded traditions of yours.
Doing this is often uncomfortable for leaders, but it is one of the most valuable and vital practices to jump start the process of legitimate growth.
2. Ask Them Questions & Apply Their Answers
If letting your team question you and your methods didn’t make you uncomfortable, this one almost certainly will.
One of the main issues that companies run into is that there is a glaring lack of differing perspectives.
This is often due to the fact that any kind of critical thinking is discouraged and replaced with routine and the ‘assembly line’ mentality. You can remedy a good deal of this by letting your employees ask you questions about why you do things the way you do them, what your vision is, etc.
But more importantly, you can address even more of it by you being the one asking the questions:
- “What do you think of the direction our company/group/church/business is going?”
- “Have you had any ideas on how we could improve x, y, or z?”
- “If you could change anything about this company/group/church/business, what would it be and why?”
- “Do you actually enjoy working with this company/group/church/business? Why or why not?
- “What would you like to see happen here over the next 6 months? The next year?”
Once you’ve asked your team what their thoughts are, take note of their answers and do your best to evaluate them with your leadership team and apply the ones that align with your business goals.
Don’t write anything off - you never know when an off-the-wall idea from the janitor in February might save you millions in October.
3. Have Grace for Mistakes
Learning to give your people the grace to mess up is one of the most empowering and encouraging things you can do for them. Not only will they view you as someone who is empathetic and legitimately cares for their well-being and success, but it will also help you view other situations in your life through the lens of extending people the benefit of the doubt.
As you give that grace to others, you can expect them to do the same for you. Part of giving grace for mistakes is also giving your team a safe environment to work in.
This is absolutely vital to facilitate lasting change.
When people are in a safe environment that demonstrates forgiveness for the mistakes that will surely be made along the way, they will be more prone to think creatively and critically about how to solve problems.
Their minds will be less bogged down with fear of failure and will thrive instead as they have the freedom to experiment, grow, and learn.
Let yourself become known as someone who is well able to look past mistakes and extends a helping hand to those who need it, rather than one who condemns every slip-up and looks down upon those who aren’t measuring up.
It will dramatically improve not only morale but also the quality and quantity of the work produced.
4. Cast a Positive Vision and EXECUTE
Lastly, as you endeavor to bring about legitimate and lasting change for the future, you’ll need to paint a long term, positive vision to show your people where it is that you want to go. More importantly than just casting that vision, however, is taking action.
There is so much talk and hype that takes place in every sphere of society, but it is the ones who actually follow through on what they have promised that really get the job done and see legitimate change take place.
When you share your vision with your clients, your company, or your group, make sure to be as detailed as possible…paint a picture with your words and if you can, draw or design mockups of the new product you want to develop and post them up in highly visible areas as you begin the process of implementing the changes.
By putting the goal in front of you and your group in a visual way, it affords you all the opportunity to envision the success that you have planned.
It has often and rightly been said, “If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit your mark”.
Same principle here.
Show them where you want to go, and work together with those on your team by tapping into their strengths and outsource anything that you cannot do quickly and efficiently.
Do these few things and do them well, and you are right on the road to seeing the overall morale of your team improve and the desired changes you want to bring about unfold before your eyes.
(Last but not least, special thanks for the cartoon hilarity provided by Dan Piraro, Wayno, & Bizarro Comics)
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