What the boss announces: “We need to cheer up around here. Morale is down.”

What the team thinks: “Oh jeez. Not again. What will it be this time? A ropes-course over the Grand Canyon? Or maybe we’ll sing ‘We are Family’ to the rhythm of ‘We Will Rock You’… and still get lousy results.”

Such teams have it right: Morale is overrated.

But – gasp! – isn’t that leadership heresy? No, it’s not. It’s overrated because some bosses confuse what morale is.


When “morale is down” the average boss tries to fix it. Resources are spent on motivational speakers and posters with trite quotes in an attempt to pump up the troops.

Like one who attempts to cure a headache with aspirin, these bosses mask what is and delay treatment for a patient who may be in critical condition.


Morale is a symptom. It’s an outcome. It’s the effect of these three causes:

  1. The ability one has to influence others and him or herself (leadership);
  2. The potency of the environment (culture);
  3. The capability to create greater results (business).

When any person perceives a drop in their ability to experience and execute the above, morale drops. When no steps have been taken to improve the proficiencies in the above three areas, might it be insane to attempt to cheer others up?

Morale is a key to success. Whether your team has it or not is an indicator of the leadership work that was done yesterday – and the type of work needed today.

As you move forward, will you focus on fixing the symptoms in your business or building greater capabilities?

What is the difference between what “might be” and what “can be”?  You decide.

Activate Your Greatness.

Activate Your Greatness.

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