The Art of Appreciation: 3 Ways to Boost Morale in Any Workplace Situation

Close up top view of young people putting their hands together. Friends with stack of hands showing unity and teamwork.

According to the Gallup organization, only 15% of the world’s full-time workers find their jobs engaging. With about 30% engagement in the U.S., approximately 70% of workers don’t enjoy their work. How very sad!

Most of us have faced low-morale workplace situations at one time or another. So how do you boost morale? Is low morale a product of weak leadership, poorly chosen teams, or even current events outside the workplace?

A lot of workplace change must begin at the interpersonal level. Thus, morale must develop through personal effort. Let’s find out what behaviors and attitudes outstanding workplace leaders use to boost employee morale.

1. Boost Morale by Showing You Care About Others

One challenge of working in a hierarchical workplace is that we sometimes overlook each other’s fundamental humanity. For example, it’s easy to feel nervous around a supervisor who seems distant.

Planning morale-boosting activities can help. Examples include:

  • Giving out job satisfaction surveys
  • Bringing in the occasional catered lunch
  • Handing out morale inspiration badges you bought at

Also, whenever possible, be flexible about accommodating alternative work arrangements. The chance to work from home or non-traditional workweek schedules, for instance, could make quite a difference.

In other words, support your diverse employees and their needs.

Check in with direct reports personally by regularly scheduling casual conversations, which opens the door for employees to share concerns. Plus, getting to know them better might reveal talents you hadn’t known about.

2. Know That How You Say Something Matters

If your instincts were on target in selecting your employees (as they probably were), they would accept your suggestions without hesitation out of respect. There seldom, if ever, is a need to tell them directly that they’re wrong.

If they seem hesitant about your recommendations, ask what they think about your ideas. When they explain, you might find that they’re proposing something that could improve the project.

If it does, be sure to acknowledge their contribution.

We always think about supervisors who preemptively assume responsibility when something doesn’t turn out as hoped. Doing this is gracious and makes the employees involved want to work even harder.

3. Focus on Faces and Body Language

To boost morale—meaning, in this case, visible evidence of contentment on people’s faces and body expressions—can be as rewarding for those who evoke the sentiment as the ones expressing it.

Also, as the “boss,” you don’t always need to mask your feelings. This is especially true if doing so would seem insincere. Employees might feel more empathy with you, knowing that you have feelings like everyone else.

Still, don’t mistake empathy from those who report to you for an opportunity to share your disappointment, frustration, or personal problems. That only creates awkwardness. Instead, smile with warmth and thank them for their kind words.

Leaders Are People, Not Titles

In most popular or business publications, you’ll find many ideas to boost staff morale. Be selective in those you choose to implement, though. Choose or adapt only those you feel most comfortable with.

Some people are great leaders because they intuitively know how to boost morale. Others do the job well because they’ve learned by observing others those with leadership styles they admire.

Whether you are an aspiring leader or a seasoned veteran, there are always lessons to learn and skills to polish. Keep your eyes on our site for more advice like what we’ve shared here.


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