Previous Tips have suggested that a manager might best conceptualize motivation as creating an environment to conducive to employees' self-motivation rather than trying to “thrust” motivation onto them. This is indeed true. And organizational culture, which is an evolutionary and broader concept, should not be confused with climate, with is more akin to someone’s present mood. But in this case, we are referring to a larger GROUP of people, and we cannot ignore climate, altogether. Low morale in a particular department or an entire organization is a climate issue that should be addressed before it becomes engrained into the culture and affects strategic decision-making. Low morale can result from any number of sources including but not limited to lack of pay raises, well-liked persons leaving the company, a new and unfavorable policy, toxic individuals among the staff or in leadership, or a predicted poor short-term horizon for the organization.
Hills describes strategies to boost low morale.1 In fact, she describes 25 methods in doing so, but our Tip does not have the space or time to go into each of these. In addition to those things mentioned in previous Tips, she lists: lead by example, reinforce positive behavior, surprise employees with random acts of kindness, organize a rotating skill share, feed employees (surprise treats), help employees develop and grow, nurture creativity, solicit suggestions, implement employee satisfaction surveys, get to know employees individually, give employees something to look forward to, incorporate humor, share inspiring materials, encourage a family atmosphere, be a servant leader, and make a substantive, positive and visible change to eliminate one annoying problem that seems to bother or inhibit performance across a broad range of employees.
All of these things can ameliorate a relatively sour mood in a larger group of people in relatively short order, even though any of them by itself is no panacea and would do little to mask larger culture problems. However, small doses of joy and kindness can be infectious, as is the pleasure one derives from little surprises. These things address climate, but they can become part of a larger culture that demonstrably rewards creativity and good citizenship and that which values self-development and marks the importance of listening to and being appreciative of one another.
Additional information about Organizational Structure and Behavior and Leadership can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
1Hills LD. How to boost a low-morale medical team: Twenty-five strategies. J Med Pract Manage 2014;30:37-41.