Being a leader is an ongoing process for everyone.  During my lifetime I have experienced both amazing and terrible bosses.  I myself have been both a terrible leader as well as a much improved leader based on the season of my life.  The key to improvement is to learn from every situation and interaction that we experience. Below I have listed 11 common actions that I have witnessed lead to lowering team member morale. 

  • 1. Under communicate.  Our team needs to hear our voice.  Even if it isn’t what they want to hear, at least they get an answer.  The problems will not fix themselves.  It is always easier to solve a problem immediately when it occurs.  Be specific and direct.   
  • 2. Scolding a team member in public.  This is a sure fire way to lower morale.  Not only does it lower morale but it seems like the more we criticize the wrong items in public, the more these behaviors repeat themselves.       
  • 3. Inconsistency. Flip / Flop.  People like to know what is expected and they get easily frustrated when the expectations change often and apparently for no reason.  If something does need to change, give the reason why.     
  • 4. Be vague, make people read your mind.  It is unfair to judge people and hold people accountable if we were not clear on the expectations from the start.  If you tell 4 people the same vague sentence, you will most likely get 4 separate outcomes.   
  • 5. Focus on superficial items.  Sometimes we spend too much time focusing on the little items that really don’t have a large impact on our day.  All it does it put you in a bad mood and creates a negative mindset.  
  • 6. Make every meeting a monologue.  If we do not have a two sided conversation and ask for input from the team, we will not get the full traction needed for success.  Ask questions so people know that you want their input.  Even more powerful is to ask a follow up question.  
  • 7. Don’t acknowledge success.  Most team members want to naturally do their best and succeed.  One of the best fuels we have to keep people performing to their potential is to acknowledge and reward success.  Praise in public, praise what you want to see repeated by others and praise daily.  This will automatically turn the culture towards positive. 
  • 8. You are always right. One thing that will endear yourself to your team is to admit that something was your fault.  Taking the blame for a situation can really help others feel safe about sharing ideas and being held to the same standards. 
  • 9. Pass the buck.  Along the same line is passing the buck.  Team members lose respect for leaders that always place the blame somewhere else.  At the end of the day the leader is responsible for the teams’ performance.  It is hard to expect others to take responsibility if the wrong example is set by the leader.  Our company coat of arms should not point at each other.
  • 10. Be negative / reactive.  Negativity breads negativity the same way positivity attracts positivity.  People don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses.  Some team members spend up to 25% of their life every week with us, the last thing they want is a negative work environment.  For that matter, it isn’t fair to anyone to create this type of environment.  Remember that losers react, leaders anticipate!
  • 11. Don’t have a heart.  Team members need to know that we care.  Everyone is human yet at times we expect everyone to be perfect.  We all know that life happens and when it does we need to be understanding and ask if we can help.  We need to really connect with our team and if someone is “off” we should know immediately and ask if we can help.  We need to find the balance of being tough on the policy but easy on the person.     
  • Try to rate yourself on these 11 items and see if there is one area that you could improve over the next 30 days. 

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