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10 Reasons Why Morale May Be Low in Your Office’?

For companies that pay attention to it, the condition of morale is an essential part of determining if the company’s environment is healthy and poised for growth. When morale is high, people are ready to come to work and be productive. Alternatively, when morale is low, people (mostly) come in, and they perform the minimum until they can escape at the end of the day.

In a low morale environment, it’s easy to find a lethargic, stagnant staff largely going through the motions but not inspired to color outside the lines. The resentment felt throughout the office is as heavy as a winter coat weighed down by a cold, rainy day. So why do these dismal, drab feelings occur? What is causing morale to suffer near the bottom of the pile of office ailments?

No doubt there are a plethora of reasons, but we’ll try to narrow them down to the top ten. See if you recognize any of these in your work environment.

1. An overbearing boss. A boss who controls, commands, and micromanages is probably the most common reason employees start losing zeal for their jobs. Bosses who fit this bill need to lighten up. Motivate. Don’t dominate.

2. A boss who does not listen to input from others. Many employees want to be able to tell the boss when they feel something isn’t working. Too often, if bosses are married to a process they created, they aren’t likely to entertain feedback from someone they feel is shooting down their idea. Rejected often enough, employees won’t feel like their opinions matter so they stop contributing, and some grow resentful.

3. A boss who stifles creativity. For those employees whose bright minds are constantly clicking through possibilities for improvements are something new, they thrive on testing out some of those possibilities. But when a boss regularly dismisses their ideas, their vibrancy dims, and they look for another environment where they can shine.

4. Employees who don’t feel valued because they receive little recognition. Almost everyone wants to be appreciated for the hard work they do. But many times they are overlooked—inadvertently and intentionally. Great bosses actively seek opportunities to praise their employees.

5. Trust is missing and little effort is made to find it. When trust is M.I.A., the environment can easily slip into hostility. Ignoring that it is a problem is like feeding oxygen to a raging inferno. Eventually everyone gets burned.

6. Individual accomplishments are promoted over teamwork. When leadership hails solo performances without also acknowledging the success of teams, they send the message that one or two people are greater than the whole group. Fostering teamwork promotes inclusion.

7. A lack of flexibility in the company’s culture. For those companies that stand by the common refrain: “We’ve always done it this way”, they can anticipate a slow death by competition. Not planning to accommodate a changing marketplace has killed many recognizable organizations. Companies and people must always be open to and ready for change.

8. Bad behavior and poor work performance are tolerated. When employees are permitted to openly submit a menial or subpar effort in their job responsibilities without intervention from leadership, the rest of the hardworking staff feels they’ve been slighted. They look to the boss to maintain or raise a standard for everyone to follow. But when high performing individuals see low performing results accepted as much as their work is, they wonder why bother?

9. The boss creates a hostile work environment. When bosses are bullies, this is the quickest way to impact the entire team negatively. Picking on one or two people is no worse than treating everyone unfairly. A boss who isolates, ridicules, threatens, and retaliates is a dream killer and a joy stealer. They should do everyone a favor and leave the hate at the door before they enter.

10. Employees who don’t feel “heard”. When the hardworking people in an organization make an appeal to the powers-that-be for improvements that they feel could benefit everyone and the organization but their feedback is dismissed, morale takes a hit. People want to feel like they can effect change.

In order to retain good talent that is difficult to find these days, leaders need to check their behavior in all of these ten areas. Challenging yourself to avoid these morale busters is a great way to improve your bottom line. We can help when you take part in our employee engagement training module. Call us at (803) 622-4511 or email us at to find out how you can participate.

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