Three ways a CEO can boost morale

Mihir Shah · July 13, 2016 · Short URL:

Better morale is critical to your company's success

It can be hard to boost morale during times of crisis and change. Luckily, CEOs can do some simple and free things that will tremendously impact your team’s morale. Here are my top three.

#1 Thank three people daily 

You know the saying, “a little goes a long way.” A simple thank you shows team members that you value their contributions. If contributions are recognized and appreciated, you not only forge a stronger relationship between you and your team, but you promote an environment that encourages new ideas and continued hard work. Thank you’s are contagious and the potential effect on ONE team member will ripple through your whole team. Just imagine how fast it will spread when you thank three people daily!

I was fortunate to join a very experienced and talented organization that was passionate about the brand, but had low team morale. I found it to be important to thank everyone for all their contributions as their teamwork makes the success of the organization possible.

Remember to be genuine and specific in your thank you's. You will not only build a stronger and trusting relationship through genuinity, but specificity identifies traits you value in team members allows you to reflect on the progress your team is making toward company objectives.

#2 Honestly share how the business is doing 

It’s easy as CEOs to hide behind the veil of confidential information. It is easy to share good news, but no one wants to be the bearer of the bad. The thing is, your team wants to know how the business is doing -- good or bad. As integral components to the success of the company, your team needs to feel connected to the result. If they are aware of the impact they are making in the organization, they will continue to be loyal team members.

One approach I took to maintain this transparency was to reveal what I had been up to and keep, not only customers and fans informed about our organization, but the team that makes our company possible. My CEO letter addressed the highlights of Drobo’s new products and successes, but also acknowledges areas on which we can improve. I apply this same level of transparency to my team members as well.

Transparency and honesty with your team not only shows that you value your team enough to include them in the inner-workings of the business, but allows for open dialogue and feedback to build upon areas that need improvement.

#3 Get to know your team at a personal level

Business is about people and relationships. We so often emphasize relationships with customers, but seem to forget about our relationship with our team members. Your team is not only passionate about the company brand, but they have other passions that they work hard at in addition to your organization. By asking about these other interests, you are making an investment in the relationship between you and the members of the team, and this ultimately leads to building trust.

While maintaining professionalism, take the time to ask team members about their family or how their weekend was. The key is to listen and absorb the information, it will mean a lot when you can ask your team member about how her son’s soccer team finished after they have spent many weekends coaching down the road.

Investing time into the lives of your team members adds a layer of humanity to a serious business environment. Organizations that approach success with a human interest are ones that value the contributions and lives of each member. Personally, I have found taking this interest in my team members has made us more connected and motivated to work together.

Simple to say, harder to do

These are three things you can do today to boost morale work for your team. Clearly, it takes time and effort to make these three techniques work but each has a potential large payoff for the success of your organization and the relationships between you and your team members. The keys are to maintain transparency and gratitude. Your team will appreciate opening up to you and will appreciate you opening up to them about yourself and the organization you are all passionate about. 

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