“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” In Hoda Kotb’s book I Really Needed This Today this quote by Mary Engelbreit was the feature of the day a few weeks ago. Today, after working with a client, I came home and shared with my wife part of the conversation I had about morale in the workplace. I said that I wanted to write about the ME and Morale, and she said, I have the perfect quote for you. And here I am writing about it.
In my conversation with my client, we spoke about how her current work environment is toxic, unwelcoming and filled with negativity. The morale is low, people are disinterested, and many are looking to throw in the towel. Does this sound familiar? Why is the morale that bad? What has caused the work place to feel like this? Is it a loss of focus? Is there a change happening for them? Is it that all the negativity has buried the employees and there is no relief in sight? What does everyone mean when they say the morale is low? What is morale?
At times like this, I like to return to the meaning of the word to better understand it and look for insight. I have found my insight in the definition of ‘morale’. The definition of morale is the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person or group at a particular time. Often it also means the mood of an individual or group at a specific time. Well, it sounds as though this group’s enthusiasm, confidence and mood is currently low. In the workplace, people usually refer to morale as a group’s mood. In the mentioned workplace, it is very clear that they are focused on the group morale. However, the definition is clear that it is either the individual or the group. Let’s focus on the individual. We all have the power to change morale.
Morale begins with me. When I wake up in the morning, I express in gratitude the opportunity to face the day, with and without its problems. I go to work and am grateful to be there, to have a job, to be given the opportunity to work with others, to learn from others and to go about my duties to the best of my ability. The effort and time I put into my work is what makes me feel good. Is it all perfect? No. Do I complain? Yes, sometimes I do when something doesn’t go the way I expect to go. However, I take a step back and accept that this obstacle is an opportunity to improve upon something or change how I approached it initially. How I go about my work can set the tone for everyone else.
If I bring the best version of myself to the workplace, people will take my cue. If I approach my role with gratitude and happiness and take care of me, that will set a tone. If someone comes up to me who is not happy or having a bad day, I can try to help them turn it around, not to help them sink any lower. How I act can determine how others act. We often hear that is takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. I often say, we get more productive when we are happy than when we are not. Work is work, it can be fun, but it’s up to ME.
I encourage you to find the ME in MoralE and make a conscious effort to improve morale by letting it begin with you. Change the way you think about it. Here are some things that you can do:
- Express Gratitude: Make a conscious effort each day to express gratitude, your thankfulness for the opportunity to live, to have a job, to encounter others, to be presented with opportunities for growth and develop; and to be there for someone else.
- Remember Good Manners: When you arrive to your place of work, greet your colleagues with a “Good morning” or “Good day”, no matter how you feel. Your greeting may change someone else’s day. You may make them feel good, worthy or respected just because you greeted them. When you leave, say “goodnight” and thank them for the work they did today. You don’t need to be a supervisor or manager to thank someone else for what they did today.
- Reduce Gossip: Gossip is as contagious as the flu. It spreads so quickly, and it hurts the immune system of your workplace. It brings negative energy into the workplace. Fight against the spread of gossip, wash your hands and stay clean from the disease. Remember you have a choice in this matter. Choose wisely!
- Practice Loving Kindness: Each day practice loving kindness for yourself and others. Before you get out of the car, say to yourself “I wish for a day of peace, a day of hope, a day of kindness and a day of problems solved.” Then say the same thing with the intention of a colleague or friend to have the same wishes. Magical things will begin to manifest.
- Avoid taking on someone else’s issue: Be aware of other people’s struggles or issues. If someone doesn’t respond to your greeting, still say good morning. It’s not your issue whether they accept it or not; it’s their issue. Don’t take on someone else’s problems. Help them to find the solution and then leave it be if you feel inclined to assist. You don’t have to do someone else’s self work. Don’t take it on.
- Refocus your energy: When the environment is rough and negativity is the overpowering force, take a step back and ask; “Can I control what is happening? What are my choices?” Think for a moment, don’t react. Refocus and ask yourself what can I control? And if you can’t control anything, remember you control how you respond to it.
- Avoid Judgement: In situations make sure you have all the information and, until you do, be careful not to pass judgement. Judgment commits us to the decision. It may block our ability to see the truth. It may become disruptive. Therefore, it can jade us to contribute to the non-truth. If we judge less, we live more truthfully.
If you struggle with changing how you think about things, there are ways that you can explore making the change you want. Life coaching is a great way to explore new perspectives about yourself and improve your self-awareness.
So, take a minute to digest this. You have the power to control morale, your morale. You have the power to influence other’s morale. Choose wisely. Judge less. Be the ME in MoralE!