Many organizations are continuing to struggle with today’s economic challenges. But the most corrosive threat to long term organizational health and performance comes from within.

With contradictory forecasts from pundits, politicians and other prognosticators, many people are highly stressed about their future. Even companies with strong action plans and solid business models are seeing employees disengage from work as they watch friends and family members struggle to find their footing after losing jobs.

I’ve been doing a number of media interviews this fall with the release of my new book, Growing @ the Speed of Change: Your Inspir-actional How-To Guide for Leading Yourself and Others through Constant Change. I am often asked how managers can more effectively lead in our turbulent times. My response is that to re-engage, managers need to rally the troops with a new sense of purpose that gives hope and inspires confidence in the future.

Here are five things every team leader, supervisor, manager, or executive can do to reverse or boost team spirit and morale.

  • Collaborative Planning Processes – collaborative approaches clearly increase ownership and commitment to organizational changes. Team members who believe their input is sought after and represented are more likely to be deeply engaged in the continuous change process.

  • Openly Share Information – trust levels reflect whether people feel like valued partners or “human capital.” Information is going to get out. The only question is will it come from the leadership or the lunchroom? When people don’t trust their leaders they are not likely to buy into change and improvement efforts.

  • Recognize, Appreciate and Celebrate – It’s not all doom and gloom. When team members do something well, let them know it. More importantly let everyone know it. Many managers underestimate the impact on engagement and morale when contributions are noticed and valued.

  • Get Input and Engagement for Improvement – Strong implementation trumps strategy every time. Top down pronouncements are rarely greeted enthusiastically. The best insights and commitment to implementation come from those actually doing the work or interacting with customers. Leverage first hand experience to make first class improvements.

  • Coach, Counsel and Consider – Honest feedback that positively reinforces strengths, and positively critiques performance are what everyone looks for in an evaluation. Team members who understand expectations and see a clear path to achieve goal and priorities will be more willing to accept change as a bigger part of the constant change improvement process.
  • Click here to review a series of articles on Employee Engagement and Empowerment.

    Space is Running Out for My December 3 Complimentary Webcast

    We have over 700 sites signed up for my one hour complimentary “Leading in Turbulent Times” webcast. There is only enough space for 1000 registrants, so it’s getting tight. This high-level overview will give you, your team, and your organization practical tips and techniques for Growing @ the Speed of Change to apply immediately. Click here for more information including a detailed agenda and registration.