Perhaps Phil Jackson, considered one of the greatest coaches in NBA history, sums up the importance of team morale best:
“The strength of the team is each member. The strength of each member is the team.”
All teams, whether a workplace team, a sports team, or a charitable team, operate under the same belief: Everyone must work in unison to realize success. The adverse behavior of just one person can throw off the morale of the entire team and impact performance and overall success in reaching the team’s goals.
As Dr. Laura Hills, author, speaker, trainer, and coach specializing in personal and professional development for career professionals, points out, team leaders should look for certain signs of low morale. Among them are:
- Low productivity;
- A drop in energy or performance;
- Poor cooperation and growing conflict between team members;
- Fewer conversations between team members;
- Lots of eye rolls, sighs, complaints, and other signs of frustration;
- More absenteeism;
- Less collaboration among team members;
- No excitement or enthusiasm in the project at hand.
When low morale seeps into the team environment, it’s important to rebuild it quickly. These seven team building strategies to improve morale are designed to create a positive team culture. And check out this article if you’re team building ideas in Cincinnati.
1. Build Team Unity
A cross-sectional study by the Society of Business and Management Dynamics concludes that team building efforts boost morale. Off-site team building activities, in particular, help team members get to know each other better, including their strengths, personality type and how they approach a goal, in a fun and nonthreatening environment.
One proven team building activity is laser tag. Laser tag games, such as those played in the multi-level Laser Web arena at The WEB Extreme Entertainment, can be specifically designed to build team unity. Game play can focus on building team communications or morale, or promoting conflict resolution among team members.
The key to building team unity is to get the team talking and working together. By doing so, team morale will improve as well.
2. Strengthen a Team’s Confidence
Often times, team members may have the necessary skills, but lack confidence in their abilities. Team building activities, according to the Small Business Chronicle, can help people “become more confident, which boosts their motivation.”
Health Fitness Revolution lists go-karting as a great confidence booster. At The WEB Extreme Entertainment, its Inside Track go-kart racing raises team confidence as participants master driving techniques, vehicle control tricks, and other skills in a fun way. Plus, winning a race is a great confidence booster, too.
3. Rally the Team Around a Common Goal
Creating a common goal for the team to achieve does wonders for improving morale. Whether it’s winning an important game, completing a project on time and within budget, or meeting a fundraising goal, whenever people have to come together to achieve a monumental task, it brings out the best in them.
Creative team problem-solving, such as that required by a puzzle room, makes for an appropriate common goal because it cannot be accomplished without the skills of the entire team. The Zombie Room at The WEB Extreme Entertainment will challenge your team in an environment like no other.
With puzzle room challenges, team members are locked in a room and must find clues and solve puzzles to unlock the door before time runs out. In the case of The WEB’s Zombie Room, the team is trapped in a room with a chained zombie, whose chain unleashes more length as time runs down.
Even if teams don’t succeed the first time, they’ll want to keep trying. And the more they work together to successfully achieve that common goal, the better morale gets.
4. Touch Base Often With Team Members
According to an Accountemps survey, the majority of HR managers surveyed said communications is the best remedy for low morale.
Building camaraderie among team leaders and members can be as simple as having regular contact. This can be accomplished through daily group time, weekly e-mails, feedback sessions, team meetings that are scheduled on the same day and time each week or month, and informal one-on-one meetings.
Off-site activities also help build camaraderie in a less formal atmosphere. Bowling, for example, promotes both team building and camaraderie. For something a little more challenging, try miniature bowling at The WEB Extreme Entertainment. It’s Hang Ten team bowling offers a six lane miniature bowling alley with a Hawaiian theme for some really laid back fun that fosters mingling among team members.
Whichever communication method is chosen, it’s important to evaluate it to be certain team members are responding to it. The proof will be in improved morale.
5. Celebrate Successes
Nothing does more for morale than celebrating the success of the team. Even small successes should be recognized, either with on-site or off-site events.
The University of Washington offers some internal recognition measures for all budgets. Among them are a team rewards and recognition program, a team appreciation day, and publicizing the achievement in internal communications.
Off-site, you can hold a private event just for the team. Depending on the nature of the celebration, you can choose to include the team’s family members, especially if family time was impacted to complete the goal.
Some off-site ideas include a team picnic, pizza party, a group night out at a sporting or entertainment event, or a group day at an amusement park. Another off-site option that combines a private room with several fun activities is a group event package at The WEB Extreme Entertainment. There are several to choose from based on the size of your celebration.
Recognition is important to individuals, so be sure to do something to recognize your team’s accomplishments. The efforts are certain to enhance morale.
6. Hold Monthly Team Competitions
Just like athletes need to stay in shape to perform, so do teams. Monthly team competitions and challenges, held during a work break or lunchtime, reinforce team building and morale building efforts. For a change of pace, alternate between holding team competitions on-site and off-site.
Some team competition ideas are bean bag toss tournaments, best dessert challenge, board game competitions, or one of the five-minute competitive games from the Energize Learning Blog.
Off-site competitions can be held outdoors at a field in a local park or a basketball hoop at a community center. For an indoor, off-site competition, plan a miniature golf tournament at The WEB Extreme Entertainment Center’s Jurassic Par course.
Monthly team competitions can be as simple or extravagant as time and budget allows. What’s important is sticking to that monthly schedule so your team remains sharp and cohesive and morale doesn’t dip.
7. Keep the Team Motivated
Once you improve team morale, you must sustain it so team members will remain motivated to reach its ongoing objectives. Some great ways to accomplish this are unexpected rewards, like additional days off, a motivational talk by a well-known coach or celebrity, sporting events or concert tickets, gift certificates, or other unexpected rewards.
A change of scenery also helps in keeping a team motivated. Arrange for a day of team volunteering in the community, or organize a team challenge. This could be anything from a scavenger hunt to a skills challenge, such as in the Arcade Center at The WEB Extreme Entertainment.
Individuals are motivated by different things. Experiment with different activities to find out what works best for your team and regularly hold these types of motivational activities.
There are so many reasons why team morale suffers, some within your control, others not. Whatever the reason for low morale, team building measures are part of the remedy and should be implemented on a continual basis to improve morale and ensure team success.