Leadership and Team Morale

Team Morale is a serious issue for all leaders to consider. The Masters of Project Management introduced me to a model I found applicable to my role of work and lined up with experience as to what causes work dissatisfaction and satisfaction. The model below is the result of a study:

Through this model we find that achievement and recongition triumph over company policy and administration which remain the strongest causes of dissatisfaction. As a leader it is important to target aspects of achieving success and warranted recognitioning whilst avoiding highly administrative policies so that these factors do not compound to create high dissatisfaction.

Negative Example:

I remember a position where the new assistant manager would discuss how new policies were going to be introduced and how everything would need to be checked by her (she was not a domain knowledge expert) and as things progressed her policies got more petty, you could only gain access to stationary by asking her directly as it was all locked in her desk.

The business owner was sold that this was an improvement but not that these policies were resolving any real quantifiable problems such as stationary abuse, this was not the case.

The staff unimously agreed they did not approve of the new policies, nor the assistant manager and the anger felt in the team was quite intense.

Positive Example:

On the opposite side my most positive working experience was at Bank of Queensland. Our manager ensured we were free of policies we had our own development network and sat outside the restrictions observed by most users, fridays always included a team event at lunch and end of month fridays included free achohol and snacks between 5-7pm. The product was put into production and it was a true feeling if achievement to get positive feedback when visiting branches and asking for comments. It had a true sense of achievement.

Also the boss routinely praised the team each morning for their effort and observed a 5 minute scrum each day. As a result I carry fond memories of Bank of Queensland and note the positive experience.


I think the main observations which line up with Hertzberg's model is the fact that administrative policies only cause dissatisfaction and routine praise of staff performance along with real achievements will go much further than high pay or work environment. I think it is important for managers to routinely target these intrinsic motivators if they aim to excel in their role.


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