Being a manager means keeping morale high to increase productivity and job satisfaction. When a manager has been with a team for a long time, a routine will develop that can easily lead to a lack of motivation and a steep decline in performance.
Keeping your colleagues stimulated and focused is key to successful management. When people have clearly defined work roles and are well equipped in training and resources, they will produce results.
As a practice manager, I have found that supporting your team and encouraging them to give their input wherever possible creates a feeling of comfort and openness. Having this system in place means people work together and more efficiently, benefiting them individually and also as a group.
Developing your team, whether it be through training or motivational techniques, will not only raise spirits but also improve performances and reflect positively on the practice. However, if there is an issue of low morale in your practice it is important to realise that it has been created over time, and hence there is rarely a short-term answer to resolving matters.
A good starting point may be a staff meeting, allowing you to understand the source. By listening to what your team have to say, you will be surprised to find you have already made progress. Being open and showing your team that you are willing to listen to them, and are always happy to do so, boosts their confidence.
Managers play a key role in making it acceptable to talk about differences. By creating a safe working environment, we can plan informal, periodic meetings where the team can get together and talk about how they are moving along. These can even be brief 10-minute discussions, so long as everyone is communicating and feedback is occurring.
Sometimes groups need challenges to help them refocus and reboot their motivation. A way of achieving this is through team-building activities or staff outings, which can help bond people together.
Some basic factors that lower morale are unclear goals, changing company objectives, lack of management support and undefined roles where employees are unsure of what is expected of them. Reinforcing team targets will help them stay focused, while regular acknowledgment or praise of their efforts helps them grow stronger and become more productive. Celebrating every small success pushes home what the team is supposed to be doing and also recognises when desired progress is being made.
Creating your own team’s identity can also go a long way to achieving success in this area. Recently at our practice we revamped our uniform, with staff now wearing more up-to-date and comfortable uniforms with our logo. This is not only a statement to the public of who we are, but it also helps to create an identity and a sense of belonging for each employee.
In conclusion, lifting morale through deliberate long-term strategies, or by simply making a few minor amendments, can have a hugely significant impact on your team and your practice’s productivity.
• Beware of your team slipping into a comfortable routine – this can lead to a lack of focus
• Major sources of motivation are clearly defined roles and specific objectives for everyone
• Encourage your team to give their input, perhaps through regular meetings – knowing you are willing to listen boosts their confidence
• New challenges, perhaps team-building activities away from the practice, can help your employees refocus
• Creating a team identity can lead to a useful sense of belonging.