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If you have concerns about poor morale or positivity in your company culture, change may need to begin with the person in the mirror.

In these challenging times, some degree of anxiety about the future is only to be expected among many workers. When teams are overstretched or facing significant change, morale may fluctuate or even take a major nosedive for a time.

That’s not necessarily a disaster, as long as the company culture is geared towards easing its people through change and uncertainty in a supportive and positive way. There’s no need to sugarcoat hard facts; indeed, a failure to be transparent can even lead to lower morale in the long run. But cultivating constructive attitudes can help businesses to ride out even the fiercest of storms.

Leaders’ attitudes will set the tone

To achieve this, it’s imperative that leadership and management figures within the business lead the way when it comes to attitudes. How can a manager be dismayed at low morale among their team, when they start every day with an audible moan or a very visible bad mood?

If you want your employees to develop robust, positive-leaning outlooks during times of challenge, you really will need to lead by example. Walking around the workplace with a long face is a very obvious way to spread a negative mood to the people who look to you for guidance. However, subtler negativity could be in play in your culture.

For example, when communicating changes to your staff, is the messaging positive and constructive, or is it delivered with a side serving of scepticism?

It’s one thing to sympathetically acknowledge the ways that difficult market conditions or uncomfortable changes will affect your staff. It’s quite another to give the impression that managers don’t really support the company’s decisions.

Achieving that balance, between realism and optimism, is a key leadership skill that should not be underestimated. After all, if their leaders can’t look on the bright side, employees may conclude – not unreasonably – that there isn’t one.

Whatever you do, be consistent

We would hope that anyone working in a management or leadership position would appreciate how their attitudes could impact the rest of the organisation. But did you know that a failure to be consistent in your mood – for better or worse – could do even more damage than chronic pessimism?

A 2018 study by the University of Exeter* found that bosses who have mood swings cause more anxiety to their employees than those who are consistently unpleasant. The research suggested that when managers are friendly and relaxed one minute, aggressive or angry the next, employees experienced more stress due to a lack of predictability about what to expect on any given day.

Bearing that in mind, it seems fair to assume that a lack of consistency in leaders’ attitudes towards broader issues could produce a similarly ambivalent feeling among the workforce.

So, if you want to learn to be a good leader, don’t underestimate the power of your influence on the people who look up to you. And smile!

*Source –

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Leadership & management is about more than just decision-making. The best business leaders arm themselves with the information they need to make good decisions. Whether you are looking to gain a better understanding of your training and development gaps, build training plans across multiple teams, or need bespoke training solutions for a particular challenge, we can help identify your options and the solutions available.

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Mark Fryer

13th May 2021

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