In today’s post, I’m going to share some simple and practical things you can do to improve Soldier morale in your unit.
Let’s be honest for a moment. A happy workforce is a productive workforce. When motivation is high, performance is high. The opposite also holds true. When morale is low, performance is low.
Soldier morale can make or break an Army unit. A highly motivated unit will ALWAYS outperform a unit that isn’t motivated.
Whether you oversee one Soldier, or thousands, you should make it one of your primary objectives to keep Soldier morale high. Fortunately, there are many ways to make this happen.
How to Improve Soldier Morale in Your Unit
Let me share some simple tips with you. These are things ANY military leader can do to improve Soldier morale.
# 1: Lead by Example
The leader is the thermometer of the organization. In other words, your emotions, thoughts, and actions will be replicated in your organization. You must “check yourself” whenever possible. Make sure you are mission focused, level-headed, positive thinking, and growth focused. Stay calm, cool, and collected, and do the things you want your team to do.
Leaders set the direction by helping others see what lies ahead and rising to the challenges. They see everyone’s potential and encourage and inspire those around them. Leading by example is a trait of a true leader. ~ LinkedIn
# 2: Discipline
Discipline is the key to success in any Army unit. If you want to improve Soldier morale you must be a disciplined leader. This means you lead by example, you enforce the Army standards, and you set lofty expectations for everyone you lead.
# 3: Praise in Public, Punish in Private
As a leader, you are responsible to recognize superior performance and reprimand substandard performance. How you do this is what mattes most! I suggest you praise people in front of their peers. On the other hand, when an issue arises, deal with it in private. Also, use tact and be respectful when talking with your subordinates.
# 4: Keep Soldiers Informed
Communication is key in ANY workplace relationship. Keep your Soldiers informed whenever possible. Let them know about upcoming missions, changes, issues, etc. They can deal with the bad news. In fact, bad news is better than no news. Keep your Soldiers in the loop. Do not hoard information.
# 5: Recognition
Recognition is one of the most important aspects of your job. Recognition could include a thank you note, a unit coin, a certificate, time off, public praise, a paid for lunch, an Army medal, or something else. Find creative ways to recognize people. When doing it, do it publicly and be specific. Tell people WHY they are being recognized.
# 6: Feedback
If the only time your Soldiers here from you is when they mess up, you are failing as a leader. It’s important to give your Soldiers feedback frequently. Let them know what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong, what they can do better, etc. Do this privately and face-to-face whenever possible.
While some individuals thrive on receiving critical feedback, emphasizing only negative, critical feedback can decrease morale, reduce productivity and could potentially leave employees feeling under-appreciated or unsure about their impact on the job. On the other hand, making positive feedback a regular part of the workplace has many benefits. ~ Indeed
# 7: Training
The Army eats, breathes, and sleeps training. You must provide battle focused training. This will have a huge positive impact on Soldier morale in your unit. Get out of the armory. Go to the field. Plan and rehearse your training so it is top notch and over delivers.
# 8: Be “Others” Focused
Instead of focusing on yourself, and your needs, focus on helping your people succeed. When people know their leader cares about them, it will help improve morale and performance within the unit. This means you find out your follower’s goals, you help them excel in their career, you help them solve their problems when they arise, etc. This is servant leadership.
By providing the support and resources your staff needs, you’ll let them know that you’re not there to tell them how to do their jobs. Instead, you’re there to help them do their jobs better. This shows them that you trust their judgment to make necessary decisions, which can fill your team with confidence. When your workforce is confident in their abilities, they’ll be more willing to learn new skills and set loftier goals for themselves – goals they’ll be able to achieve. Ultimately, you’ll notice higher performance and increased productivity throughout your company. ~ Workful.com
# 9: Create a Winning Team Culture
Another way to improve Soldier morale is to have a “winning” unit or team culture. The Army already has one, but you can take it one step further in your own unit. You should have a unit motto and mascot. You should create an environment where everyone feels important and feels like they are part of something bigger than themselves.
# 10: Have Fun
Can you have fun in the Army? Of course. There are times to be serious, but there are also times to have fun. Try to make your workplace enjoyable. When you do that, people will look forward to coming to work. Have workplace contests, BBQs, and team building exercises. Go out to eat as a section. Do something fun once a month. It will pay huge dividends and keep Soldier morale high.
Having fun at work is about creating a comfortable workplace that your employees actively enjoy going to on most days. A culture of fun can have a direct, positive, impact on your company’s bottom line. ~ The Olson Group
In conclusion, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of Soldier morale in your unit. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to create a winning team. By following the tips mentioned in this article, you will be well on your way.
What are your thoughts? What do you do to keep Soldier morale high? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.