Do your employees drag themselves into work` Is office laughter a vague memory` Your employees' morale may need a boost. After all, low morale can lead to poor cooperation, low productivity and increased turnover -- and ultimately hinder a business from reaching its goals.

Since employee morale can quickly build or break a company's success, effective leaders often keep a close eye on it and enlist simple and creative approaches to strengthen it. Here a few tactics to think about adapting for your business:

  1. Keep employees feeling their work is more than just a job - Everyone wants to feel that his or her work has a higher purpose. Sometimes, though, that purpose gets lost in the day-to-day grind.

  2. Take time to creatively celebrate accomplishments - It's natural to focus on what's ahead rather than reflect on how much has been achieved. Taking time to reflect, though, helps employees appreciate how much they have done.

  3. Grant time off to employees to pursue projects they are passionate about - Personal projects can provide an energizing break from regular responsibilities and can serve as a source of innovation for a company.

  4. Mix up the company's usual way of doing things - Departing from the customary routine of meetings and cubicle life can go a long way toward building morale.

  5. Don't forget to have fun.
  6. Train employees to develop positive attitudes.
  7. Offer time away from the office to do some good - Another way to build employee morale and camaraderie is through community service.

Smart leaders take advantage of the fact that some things never change. Take employee engagement, for example. Most of the disengaged employees are looking for inspiration. They are searching for meaning and they want to have someone or something to believe in. They want to make a difference and they`re looking to you`their team leader`for inspiration. Six years ago, I proposed a model for becoming an inspiring leader after interviewing more than 50 leaders running some of the world`s most admired brands. The 7 qualities they all share are.

Inspiring leaders express a passionate commitment to serving their team. When I interviewed Starbucks SBUX -0.55% CEO Howard Schultz, I was struck by the fact that he used the word `passion` constantly. He wasn`t as passionate about `coffee` as much as he was about treating his employees with dignity and respect. Schultz learned very early in his career that happy employees lead to happy customers. More recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson. Branson expressed his passion for his team and his commitment to giving them all of the tools they need to elevate customer service.

Inspiring leaders communicate a bold, specific, and consistent vision. Most employees`especially the Millennial generation`want more than a paycheck. They want to feel as though their work has meaning. They need to see how their jobs or projects connect to the big picture.

Inspiring leaders sell the benefit behind their ideas. Few people care about the `how` until they know `why` they are doing what they are being asked to do. The lobbies of venture capital firms are littered with the dashed dreams of would-be entrepreneurs who had good ideas but failed to inspire investors because they could not clearly communicate the benefit behind their product or idea. Employees, too, want to understand the benefit. People are inspired when they know exactly how your initiative, product, or idea will improve their lives. Remember, effective communication is not about you. It`s about them.

Inspiring leaders tell powerful, memorable, and actionable stories. Inspiring communicators are storytellers. Incorporate stories in your conversations, emails, and presentations. I recently met with a top executive at one of the largest companies in the world. He was preparing for a major speech he delivered this week to an audience of world leaders. His speechwriter was in the room as well as his assistants and presentation design experts. After I listened to his first run-through, I said, `Where`s your voice`` He had a great message, compelling facts and figures, but no personal stories. Once he added his own stories the presentation came alive.

Inspiring leaders invite feedback. One of the astonishing success stories I`ve ever come across is Griffin Hospital in Derby, Connecticut. Griffin transformed itself from a troubled organization in the 1980s to one of the best places to work in the country and a role model for hundreds of hospitals across America. Griffin CEO Patrick Charmel told me that he began to ask for honest feedback from employees, doctors, nurses, patients, and former patients. He listened and gave people what they asked for. Today Griffin is committed to transparency and open, honest communication between leadership and staff. Everything is shared`the good and bad news. Employees are involved in every major decision. Most important, senior leaders make it a point to solicit feedback regularly.

Inspiring leaders act as beacons of hope. Successful leaders are more optimistic than average. They act bravely and speak with courage and confidence about the future. They see the world differently. Where many see gloom, despair, tumult and turbulence, inspiring leaders see a bright, positive world full of hope and joy.

Inspiring leaders praise people and encourage them to be their best selves. Richard Branson once said, `When you lavish praise on people, they flourish; criticize and they shrivel up.` When I spent a day with Branson I noticed that he gave compliments constantly`to his staff, crew, and airport personnel. He walks the talk.

You might be a leader who shares each of these qualities. It doesn`t mean that every one of your employees will love you and their jobs. A high percentage of the 70 percent of employees who are `disengaged` might simply be in the wrong job and no amount of motivation will help. But read the last quality carefully`inspiring leaders encourage people to be their best selves. These leaders take a genuine interest in people as individuals. They talk to their employees about their hopes, dreams, and interests. They encourage employees to change jobs if they must or seek out positions within or outside the company that best suits their passion and skills.

Source: - Excerpts from a Carmine Gallo Article for Forbes


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