Morale and Change: What Role Does Morale Really Play in Your Business's Change Strategy

I was recently asked by a friend and colleague about the role employee morale plays in the change process, and how I recommend implementing change with either good or bad morale present.

First, for this discussion, morale will be understood to be the overall mood of an organization. This mood will be either good or bad, exist in varying degrees, and apply differently to people throughout the organization. The aggregate of all the individual moods within the organization becomes the overall morale; i.e. "The morale here at XYZ Co. is pretty good."

Secondly, it's very important to understand that morale is an effect. Many believe morale to be an underlying emotion, but it's not. Morale is an outward expression, a physical manifestation of some emotional state. As such, morale should not be the focus of change but rather a measurement of how successful a deeper change strategy is.

When an organization begins to implement change, the change process will affect the morale. So let's look at the two types of general morale and what causes them.

Bad Morale: The underlying emotion that produces bad morale is fear. When experiencing change, or the anticipation of change, fear is a very common emotion. When one thinks about uncertainty, doubt, the unknowns, challenges, and failure one will be filled with fear. And when one is in a fearful emotional state, it will definitely be expressed outwardly as bad morale. The degree of the level of fear will produce a proportional level of bad morale. This fear is then multiplied when an entire department, office or organization collectively reinforces the negative mindset.

Good Morale: If the emotion of fear produces bad morale, faith will produce good morale. While not as common as fear, faith is just as easy to produce as fear when you get in the habit of producing it. Vision, goals, will power, imagination, knowledge and success principles will all build faith. Faith is a very powerful positive emotion that produces good morale. Again, the more the whole group is focused on these positive things, the better the morale will be among the group.

So when you're assessing the morale of your business, look at it as a gauge of your team's emotional state. Take steps to change this emotional state for the better and then reassess the morale. Communicate very clearly what your vision is, what your expectations are, and the benefits you intend for every member of the team. The clearer you make the picture in their minds the more faith they develop and the better the morale.

Article Source: Michael S Joesten

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