5 Ways to Boost Your Team’s Morale

Are you noticing a decrease in energy and excitement among your team? Are you hearing more sighs and seeing more rolled eyes than usual? Are your team members taking a sloppy approach to simple tasks? If you’re answering yes to any of these questions, your team might be suffering from a lack of drive. If that’s the case, you might need to think about ways to boost morale.

If you’re answering yes to any of these questions, your team might be suffering from low morale. More than just a passing bad mood, low morale stems from a waning sense of job satisfaction and can be due to any number of factors—increased pressure from management, a round of lay-offs, a particularly miserable client, and more.

No matter what the cause, low morale requires a proactive response. And while you may not be able to change what’s going on in the broader organization, you can foster an environment that’s more productive and rewarding for your own team. Get started with these tried-and-true tactics.

1. “Good Job” Goes a Long Way

Busy days turn into busy weeks, which turn into busy months and years—which means we often forget to stop and celebrate small successes. But taking a moment to recognize your team members for a job well done in their day-to-day work is the easiest, cheapest, and most effective way to boost morale.

Four team members fist bumping to boost morale in the office above a table filled with papers and technology

it’s important to recognize people the right way—you shouldn’t just hand out meaningless compliments. Take notice when someone has improved or gone above and beyond and tell her that you were genuinely impressed with the particularly good work she did. Authenticity rules.

2. Set (Fun) Team Goals

Setting team goals is the backbone of every good management strategy. But while project goals, yearly performance metrics, and department-wide deliverables are all great motivators, they can also be hard to relate to on a daily basis.

Work with your team to determine some immediate goals! They can be work-related, or they can even be goofy things like reaching a team bagel consumption goal or competing to find the weirdest daily news story. Giving the team something to work toward in the short-term (and rewarding them with prizes) is a great way to build excitement.

3. Learn From Each Other

When managing a group of people, it’s crucial to remind your team that it’s made up of individuals who bring diverse skills to the group. This, of course, applies to workplace skills—Excel, PowerPoint, public speaking—but don’t forget about the perhaps underutilized creative talents of your employees.

Woman helping to boost morale of her teammate by working at a computer screen while a man works at a computer in the background

Every few weeks, try hosting a rotating “skillshare” (you can base it on the Skillshare model of learning anything from anyone) where a team member presents an untapped skill to the entire group. You never know—you might have a secret wine connoisseur, art history buff, or mini-golf champ among you!

Encouraging people to share their talents and interests will not only give them a chance to work on something they’re really excited about, but it’ll also help the group to unwind together.

4. Go for Random Acts of Kindness

When new hires join the team, ask them to fill out a short questionnaire about their “favorites” (favorite candy, favorite flower, favorite magazine, favorite sports team.) Keep this information on file and use it when people could use an extra pick-me-up.

5. Lead by Example

It’s impossible to be cheery 100% of the time, but stress and negativity are incredibly infectious. If your team is headed into a busy season or tough project, it’s important to come to work with a good attitude every day and to be diligent about minimizing your complaints in front of team members.

Finding ways to boost morale should be a top priority and be consistent and strategic with your efforts. One-off pizza parties are not the ticket to good morale—but regularly communicating with your team, actively responding to feedback, and recognizing accomplishments will go a long way. After all, boosting morale will ultimately create a fulfilling and challenging work environment not just for your team, but for you too.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you come up with more ways to boost morale! We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IYP-Logo.png

15 Better Get-to-Know-You Questions for Your Co-Workers

Maybe you’re brand new on your team, or maybe, you’ve been around for a while, but you really don’t know all that much about the people you work with. Either way, it’s time to pull out some get-to-know-you questions. First, because it’s more fun to work with people you feel bonded to, but second, it’s an excellent strategy to be connected to the people who see your work closely. You will all end up being part of a career network that will last your entire career. In other words, connecting with the people around you is both a better way to enjoy your work and also a more sophisticated career strategy. Throw a couple of these prompts out and get ready to bond with your colleagues on a whole new level.

Strictly Business

1.What do you do at [Company] and when and where can we find synergy?

2.What’s a professional skill you’re currently working on?

3. What’s your go-to productivity trick?

4. Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?

5. What was your first job?

A Little More Personal

6. If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something what would it be?

7. If you could write a book about your life, what would the title be and why?

8. How do you turn things around when you’re having a bad day?

9. What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

10. What’s something you’ve done, but will never do again?

Just for Fun

11. Are you a dog person or a cat person (or neither)?

12. Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?

13. If you could choose a name for yourself, what would it be?

14. If you could only eat one item for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

15. If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?

It can be tough to think of questions that go beyond, “What did you do this weekend?” or “It’s a little cold in here today, isn’t it?” Bookmark this list to foster a reputation as the co-worker who can always get an awesome conversation started.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you create a better team environment. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IYP-Logo.png

How to Work Effectively on a Team

 

Knowing how to work well on a team is essential to being successful today. Knowing what it takes to be productive and synergistic when working with others will keep you marketable and help you maintain a healthy, supportive network. For some people learning the secrets of this can be difficult, so the Ignite Your Potential Coaches have curated tips that can level up your teamwork playbook.

1. Strive for Effective, Clear Communication

When communication is effective everyone involved feels accomplished and satisfied. There is less room for misunderstandings and it lowers the potential for conflict. Without effective communication, mistakes and arguments will occur. Try to:

  • Be Aware of Your Body Language
  • Intend to be Open Minded and Respectful
  • Be Clear, Concise, and Participate
  • Practice Active Listening

According to a Forbes article by Dianne Schilling, there are 10 steps to effective listening. 

We recommend this article to further enhance your communication skills. Choose one or two suggestions that apply to you and try them at your next meeting.

2. Build Trust

Ideally, a team generates an environment where people feel comfortable taking reasonable risks, stating their perspective, advocating for their strategy, asking questions, and proposing action items. Champion for your team to:

  •        Expect and Appreciate Disagreement
  •        Do What They Say They Will Do
  •        Take Responsibility and Share When Goals Cannot Be Accomplished
  •        Work in Collaboration not Competition
  •        Commit Together to Working as a Highly Functional Team

 

3. Manage Conflict

Work cannot be done efficiently if there is constant bickering and tension. If workflow is behind because of conflict, you should address it. When moving to do so consider:

  •        Identify Points of Agreement and Disagreement through Active Listening
  •        Ask Clarifying Questions
  •        Use “I” Statements Instead of Blame
  •        Develop a Plan Together to Resolve Conflict

4. Adaptability

When working on a team, you already know that everything is not going to go your way. Being adaptable does not mean you are allowing others to take advantage of you or that you are weak. It does not mean letting go of your principles. Compromise is not giving in. The ability to adjust is what collaboration and working on a team is all about. We encourage:

  • Being Open to Change
  • Breathe, Feel Your Feet on the Ground, and Practice Patience
  • Exploring Outside Your Comfort Zone
  • Increase Awareness and Tolerance When Feeling Resistance

Whether it’s work life or personal life, collaboration with others can be awesome and it can be difficult. Learning the art of dealing with different personalities and opinions is not easy. Yet there are so many benefits that it only makes good sense to continue developing mastery in this area. We live in a diverse world that will only get more diverse. And while research shows that this is a great thing for business, understanding how to work on a diverse team is also an essential skill in our modern workplace.

After reading this article, may you be inspired to continue building your teamwork toolbox. And remember, all of the award winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you meet your life goals and career goals. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

Level Up Your Note Taking: Make the Next Meeting Matter

First Things First

You likely spend time in meetings, and maybe some of you, a majority of your work life is within meetings. We’ve all experienced the draining, demoralizing feeling when a meeting is not productive. So before we begin to discuss best practices in note taking for said meetings, I want to turn you on to these useful tips by David Grady that help you attend less meetings and make sure, before you even attend, that they will be useful. Here is his hilarious TED talk called How to Save the World (or at Least Yourself) from Bad Meetings.

note taking

However, when you are in productive meetings, why might you want to make sure your note taking is masterful?

  • It will help you be more engaged and focused.
  • You will remember and capture needed information.
  • You will document proof that certain things did in fact occur.
  • Excellent note taking allows strategic thinking to emerge.

Upfront Guidelines

Your job when taking notes is to listen for and summarize key messages regarding:

  • Action Items,
  • Decisions,
  • Learnings,
  • Context, and
  • Notes relevant to you.

The whole purpose is for your learning and reference. Do not go in depth, you are not a court reporter. Less is more. Take partial notes that you can fill in after the meeting. In other words, write down enough to trigger your memory.

Preparation

Block ten minutes before the meeting for preparation. Ask yourself the follow questions and consider beginning your notes for the meeting at this stage.

  • The person leading the meeting, what are their objectives and agenda?
  • What are your objectives or agenda for the meeting?
  • What do you need to bring: discussion points, check-in data, etc?
  • Are there questions you need answered?
  • What would success look like for this meeting?

Block ten minutes after the meeting to synthesize your notes. Organize your to do’s, next steps, and deadlines in your tools of choice (project management software, calendar, app, etc.)

note taking

What Must be Captured

  • Action Items. To do’s, tasks, action requests. Keep this as clear as possible: Person X to do (specific task details) by (due date.) Who is suppose to do, what, by when.
  • Decisions. Outcomes and decisions agreed by the group.
  • Learnings, or follow-ups to learn something.
  • Intel, Observations, Strategy in summary.

Questions to Get the Right Info

While you never want to ask questions that take the meeting off course, there are questions that help clarify, keep you engaged, and help the meeting stay productive. Here are just a few that can help:

  • “Can someone please state the decision we’re making?”
  • “Can we recap decisions and next steps?
  • Use reflective listening. “Am I hearing that Barb will own X and Ted will deliver Z by this date?”
  • Ask the speaker clarifying questions that have them state key takeaways. “What do you think are the most important takeaways?”

Best Note Taking Apps in 2019

Using the best and most appropriate tools for the job at hand is an important aspect. Here are the best note taking apps in 2019.

Conclusion

note taking

Becoming masterful at taking notes in meetings means that you have all the information you need to do your job well. This basic skill is one that will set you apart and have you be more effective in your role. Topics and skills just like this are part of the support you can expect from an Ignite Your Potential career coach.