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qashqai's avatar

How can I improve morale among my fellow colleagues?

Asked by qashqai (2465points) July 9th, 2008

I am working in a big financial advisory firm. Next project is quite big and they made up a team of no less than 6–8 people. The main problem is not the difficult project itself, is that everybody seems not motivated, sad and the atmosphere in our dedicated office @client building is really heavy.
What can I do/say to make things better?(I am an analyst, that means I have 2 year experience. Team is made up of people with more experience and two new hired).

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12 Answers

jacksonRice's avatar

stop people in the hallway & give them small personal compliments (“Stephanie, I loved what you said yesterday about the excel worksheet problem; you’re absolutely right”) & smile a lot. bring in cookies or something & share them generously.

mzgator's avatar

Remember a smile and a happy attitude is contagious. Also saying thanks often for hard work makes all the difference!

wildflower's avatar

A smile goes a long way. Also, why not bring it up in team meeting? Find the root cause. If people aren’t forthcoming in a group, bring it up when you chat to them individually.
Chances are it’s the group dynamics and/or environment (client’s site). If it’s group dynamics, suggest a get together or some in-work activity that’ll require the entire team’s participation (I.e. Make a combined orientation of the client’s site where you all have to find out and present something).
If it’s the environment, reach out and contact the office manager and/or other key players and have them come meet with the team. If you get to know them better it may be easier to get enthusiastic about working on their account.

Whatever you choose to do, don’t ignore it and hope it’ll fix itself. That’s far too big a risk to take. Bring it up! There’s a good chance the discussion will relieve a lot if the demotivation – and could help strengthen the team as a unit.

jlm11f's avatar

I agree with jacksonRice. Food is always a great motivator. On one of those really rough days or maybe once a week, you could order some pizza or bring in donuts etc. If on a particular day, the team seems really frustrated, suggest going out for lunch to a sports bar etc. That will help them cool off and feel refreshed and also be more willing to put in extra hours or to work harder etc. As the old adage goes “the way to a man’s heart is his stomach.” This holds true for all humans in general.

You also mentioned people feeling sad. Follow wildflower’s suggestion and try to find out the cause for this. Do they have a problem with their wages or something?

qashqai's avatar

Thank you all for your very inspiring answers!

Let’s say this is the kind of company that aims to hire brilliant people and “make them pay” what it gives them in term of reputation when you insert that name on your CV with relatively low wages, really tough schedules, constant pressure, everlasting meetings (sometimes unmeaningful) and lot of consultancy bad habits.
We don’t have a high retention, but is an incredibly challenging place to learn whatever you can get, and then look for an overpaid job elsewhere.

Got the idea?

wildflower's avatar

Sounds like this should be an ideal project for you all. If the main benefit of working for your company is reputation and accomplishment, being part of a particularly challenging and complex project is the perfect opportunity to shine and get recognition!
Why not encourage your team mates to all make an effort to make this project work in your favor, i.e. deliver on target with better than expected results and you’ll all be legends! And if you can add some positive feedback from the client and your company’s management, that’ll be sure to land you that job you’re all hoping to move on to!

alabare's avatar

Cage fight! Does the trick every time.

In all seriouseness, pot lucks and monetary incentives work for my division all the time. Food and money go well together. While you can’t change a pay grade over night, acquiring a budget for morale is far easier. I use this budget to pay on special goals, gift certificates, etc. Great motivator.

And on a side note, had my team get together last year for a dodge ball match. Was extremely therapeutic, and fun.

wildflower's avatar

I once took my team paint-balling. That was therapeutic! For them and me :)

Knotmyday's avatar

Are you the team leader? Invite them all over for cocktails and go out to dinner. Alcohol relaxes, and like Jackson/PnL said, food works. Sounds like the group needs to connect.

qashqai's avatar

Unfortunately I am not the team-leader!
These kind of guys are maybe already too much into it, they don’t even recognize there’s not team gelling. But, let’s say I am over optimist or not that disillusionated already to hope for a better place to work, also because we have to spend at least 10/14 hours a day together!
As I pointed out before I am at analyst grade, that means I have some assistants working for me, but the whole world of senior and managers above!
I will have to try to work my way starting from the bottom of the hierarchy I am afraid.

ninjaxmarc's avatar


One person in the group always has to look at the brighter side of things.

upholstry's avatar

@jacksonRice sorry but food is a silly motivator and it ends up feeling like a cop-out

Give them more responsibility and a voice in some of the planning and higher-level aspects of the project. Don’t make them feel like worker bees or places on an assembly line.

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