The art of cultivating employee morale is challenging under normal circumstances, but a high-pressure situation makes your entire team more vulnerable to hostility and burnout. Whether you are facing a hectic deadline or recent downsizing, motivate employees by empathizing with their complaints or fears. By offering appreciation and flexibility, you can remind employees that their work is valuable while giving them incentive to stay productive.
1. Lighten the Mood
When everyone feels stressed, the worst way to motivate employees is to crack the whip and treat them like indentured servants. Set a good example by staying calm, and avoid infecting the team with panic or frustration. Find fast, easy ways to periodically lower the stress level, such as giving out funny awards or prizes for office trivia. If you do integrate competitions, make sure you keep them lighthearted and not cutthroat. After all, the goal is to keep the team spirit alive.
2. Listen to Grievances
Blowing off steam is a natural part of stress management, and it encourages employees to get their feelings out and move on with their days. Your team deserves the right to voice their opinions if they are pulling late nights for a fussy client or shouldering a larger burden to fix a boss's errors. Do not allow negative conversation during work periods, but give employees the freedom to speak honestly during breaks. Empathize with their grievances, apologize for the situation and thank each person for going the extra mile.
3. Give Employees Space
Keep your anxiety under control, and stop yourself whenever you feel the urge to hover. Trust that your employees know how to do their jobs, and avoid sparking resentment by micromanaging. Come up with individual goals to motivate employees, and check in with them when they reach predetermined milestones. Creating a system ensures that you distribute your timely wisely and evenly while preventing you from slowing productivity by irritating your staff.
4. Be Generous With Rewards
Rewards can instantly boost employee morale, but only if they match the recipient's personality. Make sure your efforts to show appreciation do not backfire by taking time to understand what drives each person. For example, motivate employees to contribute more now by dangling the opportunity to work from home for a day after your deadline. Offer to provide free lunch or dinner during crunch time, and reward the attention lovers with public praise.
5. Enjoy a Time-Out
Even most machines are not meant to run tirelessly for hours on end, so do not expect your employees to be productive without breaks. Mental and physical rest gives your team time to refocus their minds and step outside of the work environment. Motivate employees to stay energized by encouraging them to take walks or engage in stress-relieving activities they enjoy. Plan recreational group events to help employees bond outside of work so they are more likely to support each other through the tough times.
Your employees are your most valuable resources, and you do not want to exhaust them by ignoring their day-to-day needs. Balance your authority with kindness and attentiveness to motivate employees to stick by you when work becomes stressful.
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