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  1. #1
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    2019 - New Leaders - Morale

    Morale vs Motivation - they are related - but differ as they relate to employee performance.

    Morale is the overall feeling an employee has about their organization, their particular job or assignment, their coworkers and their supervisors. Morale is typically a group concept, and it can be contagious. Good morale breeds good morale, and bad morale can bring a cycle of worsening morale.

    Motivation is more of an individual concept. It is an internal individual drive a person has to help them successfully accomplish a task or improve upon desired results.

    Good morale does not automatically equate to high motivation. A shift supervisor who lets his employees arrive late and leave early for work, let's them take extra-long lunch breaks, and lets them spend the entire day socializing with coworkers rather than working might be liked (if not always respected). The employees could have good morale even if they failed to meet their organization's minimum work standards. Good morale is important but it does not necessarily override the need for results - results for which the employees were hired. Results which funnel to the top.

    It is equally important to note that while good morale may not cure all performance problems, low morale can negatively impact motivation. A supervisor who goes to the other extreme (results-at-all-costs) and is demeaning, uncaring, never shows appreciation or is aloof could hurt morale and ruin the results the supervisor was trying to achieve. A supervisor might require minimum compliance using heavy handed methods, but it is doubtful they would ever earn true commitment from their employees.

    When it comes to motivation, good morale helps but it is not the only factor to be considered. People are typically motivated by three things: fear; incentives; and personal growth. Most of us are motivated at least a little by fear - not fear of our boss but fear of consequences for not doing a job or of violating rules. Some people are motivated by incentives including but not limited to new assignments, promotions, and professional recognition. Most employees are motivated to one degree or another by the desire for personal growth. Personal growth includes such things as job satisfaction, professional development, personal fulfillment, and the ability to really enjoy the job - at least occasionally. It is important to keep in mind that a supervisor who focuses too much on fear or incentives as a motivator may get short-term desired results, but at the cost of morale and long-term commitment.

    Morale and motivation work together. To earn commitment, and get good long-term results from employees, supervisors should monitor and work to improve both morale and motivation. While in theory, morale and motivation are the responsibility of individual employees, supervisors significantly influence both with their words, actions and omissions. If a supervisor can find a way to improve morale they will generally see the simultaneous improvement in an employee's motivation. More motivation means more commitment to the individual supervisor, and better overall job performance. If a supervisor finds a way to improve an individual's motivation, it is likely they will also improve that person's morale (and that improvement may be contagious).

    When morale is low, motivation will suffer. Some supervisors think that is the time to ramp up the consequences. Accountability is important, but overreacting can further hurt morale and motivation as they both continue on a downward cycle. Supervisors would be better served by striving for excellence right from the beginning. Have high expectations, help employees meet those expectations, and recognize them for that behavior when the expectations are achieved (what gets recognized gets repeated).


    TIP: Work is not always fun: sometimes work is just work. But if a supervisor can occasionally find a way to make the job a little fun, and a little more fulfilling - at least occasionally - that supervisor will have a greater chance to positively and simultaneously influencing both morale and motivation.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Morale vs Motivation - they are related - but differ as they relate to employee performance.

    Morale is the overall feeling an employee has about their organization, their particular job or assignment, their coworkers and their supervisors. Morale is typically a group concept, and it can be contagious. Good morale breeds good morale, and bad morale can bring a cycle of worsening morale.

    Motivation is more of an individual concept. It is an internal individual drive a person has to help them successfully accomplish a task or improve upon desired results.

    Good morale does not automatically equate to high motivation. A shift supervisor who lets his employees arrive late and leave early for work, let's them take extra-long lunch breaks, and lets them spend the entire day socializing with coworkers rather than working might be liked (if not always respected). The employees could have good morale even if they failed to meet their organization's minimum work standards. Good morale is important but it does not necessarily override the need for results - results for which the employees were hired. Results which funnel to the top.

    It is equally important to note that while good morale may not cure all performance problems, low morale can negatively impact motivation. A supervisor who goes to the other extreme (results-at-all-costs) and is demeaning, uncaring, never shows appreciation or is aloof could hurt morale and ruin the results the supervisor was trying to achieve. A supervisor might require minimum compliance using heavy handed methods, but it is doubtful they would ever earn true commitment from their employees.

    When it comes to motivation, good morale helps but it is not the only factor to be considered. People are typically motivated by three things: fear; incentives; and personal growth. Most of us are motivated at least a little by fear - not fear of our boss but fear of consequences for not doing a job or of violating rules. Some people are motivated by incentives including but not limited to new assignments, promotions, and professional recognition. Most employees are motivated to one degree or another by the desire for personal growth. Personal growth includes such things as job satisfaction, professional development, personal fulfillment, and the ability to really enjoy the job - at least occasionally. It is important to keep in mind that a supervisor who focuses too much on fear or incentives as a motivator may get short-term desired results, but at the cost of morale and long-term commitment.

    Morale and motivation work together. To earn commitment, and get good long-term results from employees, supervisors should monitor and work to improve both morale and motivation. While in theory, morale and motivation are the responsibility of individual employees, supervisors significantly influence both with their words, actions and omissions. If a supervisor can find a way to improve morale they will generally see the simultaneous improvement in an employee's motivation. More motivation means more commitment to the individual supervisor, and better overall job performance. If a supervisor finds a way to improve an individual's motivation, it is likely they will also improve that person's morale (and that improvement may be contagious).

    When morale is low, motivation will suffer. Some supervisors think that is the time to ramp up the consequences. Accountability is important, but overreacting can further hurt morale and motivation as they both continue on a downward cycle. Supervisors would be better served by striving for excellence right from the beginning. Have high expectations, help employees meet those expectations, and recognize them for that behavior when the expectations are achieved (what gets recognized gets repeated).


    TIP: Work is not always fun: sometimes work is just work. But if a supervisor can occasionally find a way to make the job a little fun, and a little more fulfilling - at least occasionally - that supervisor will have a greater chance to positively and simultaneously influencing both morale and motivation.
    Lube, you are impressing me. I get it. You're ready for the big move. Good for you. Stay the course my friend. Once more, Great post!

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