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Articles - Managers

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How Supervisors Can Boost Morale in the Workplace
As a supervisor, you want your work atmosphere to stay positive and productive. However, coming up with methods to achieve this isn’t always simple.

But recognize that you set the emotional “tone” of the workplace environment. Those in charge of any group of people have this power. For example, do you remember those childhood car trips when Dad or Mom got cranky? When an adult got frustrated, this mood change could make or break the entire trip!

Your positive approach to things should eventually improve the mood—and therefore the productivity—of everyone in your department. Emotions, like the common cold, are very “catching.”

You can help your employees enjoy their work environment more if you try the following:

  • Find ways to honor each individual. Employees need to feel that they aren’t disappearing into the woodwork. They want to feel that they exist as a person first—an employee second. Ask them to make a list of ways management can help them feel recognized. For example, would they enjoy recognition when they have a special anniversary or birthday?
  • Create a career “track” for each employee. Help every person develop a “vision” of personal success. Create a template for them to use in order to document skills they’ve acquired, skills they want to learn and goals they want to reach.
  • Ask for creative input. In many companies, the “suggestion box” may be the only creative avenue of input some employees will have. Not everyone gets invited to participate in planning sessions.If you ask for suggestions from others, try to incorporate a few ideas—even if you have to fine-tune them a little. Give personal recognition for every person who makes an honest effort to contribute a winning idea.
  • Bring their families into the work setting. Inquire about your employees’ children. Make it a point to ask about a child’s piano recital or ball game. If your department is rather large, you might consider publishing a newsletter to share family-oriented information.
  • Give them something to look forward to. Psychologists say that having something to look forward to relieves stress and creates healthy anticipation of the future. You might, for example, encourage your employees to bring desserts to work the last Friday of each month. Take 30 minutes to eat and chat after 5 p.m. Or, have a lottery drawing for a gourmet dinner once a month.
  • Incorporate humor, whenever appropriate. A work atmosphere that is too straight-laced can dim the creative spirit in employees. Incorporate jokes into your speeches. Throw in a funny story to liven up your daily chats with employees.
  • Let your hair down occasionally. Employees feel more upbeat when they really like their supervisors as people. Well-liked supervisors gain loyalty, too.

As a supervisor, you must create a positive work atmosphere in stages. It’s not a process that unfolds overnight. Implement one or two changes each week and go from there. Employees will feel more upbeat if they sense that management is trying to build a healthy work environment. You’ll know your plan is working when employees start coming to you with their own ideas for healthy change.

By Judi Light Hopson
© 2002-2004 Achieve Solutions