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Which Direction is Your Company’s Morale Spiral Heading?

morale spirale

I find that “morale” is one of those words like “culture.”

We know we’ve got one – it just usually isn’t what we exactly desire or picture it to be. And somehow, we often feel powerless, or at a disadvantage to measure it, and take action to directly impact it.

Let’s start with a definition of morale:

  • the mental and emotional condition (as of enthusiasm, confidence, or loyalty) of an individual or group with regard to the function or tasks at hand
  • a sense of common purpose with respect to a group:esprit de corps

We think of winning teams as having high morale.

They go into the game believing they’ll win, expecting to win.  Why?  Because they are prepared and they know their teammates are, too.  They know what their jobs are and they trust others to do theirs.  They did their homework.  They are ready to play—and they look forward to game day.

The converse is often also true, but it is the direct opposite causal relationship.

Teams with low morale often end up losing.

It’s the same in business – your business.

The level of morale, and the direction of the morale spiral, is impacted by a number of factors: 

  1. a shared sense of communicated and meaningful purpose – visible internal and external to the organization

  2. loyalty and commitment to a common and shared set of values (quality, respect, camaraderie, collaboration)

  3. defined roles with aligned authority and responsibility – and the competence and training needed to be successful

  4. a measurement system that is visible, shared, consistent and transparent

So if we don’t have those – then what must we have: often a combination of complacency, favoritism, inconsistency, apathy, selfishness, hypocrisy (to name a few…).

Morale is dynamic, not static:  it’s always moving up or down —and the bigger the organization and the more silos it has — the more variable the direction and intensity of the spirals.  The more variation — the worse it gets — as people begin to compare spirals.

If you can agree that morale is created — it is also contagious—positively and negatively.  The smart leader has his or her hand on the “morale pulse” all the time — knowing when to encourage, when to admonish, when to just listen, when to take a stand,  when and how to praise, and when and how to criticize — always in alignment with the shared purpose.

So which direction is your morale spiral heading?  Need guidance??  Let us know at

Related: A Strong Culture is Something You Create Every Day

Related: The Cost of Culture

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