"Food, Glorious Food"
I was talking with a senior manager from a corporation last week and he told me of his strongest technique to maintain morale in his department. "Food," he said. He went on to explain how he would arrive early on certain days and place a candy bar, piece of fruit or something like a snack bag of nuts or pretzels at the workspaces of his people. He said when he first started doing it he thought it was a bit elementary, but he immediately noticed the benefit. People were smiling more and seemed in a better overall mood-and all because of a simple kind gesture. He's even begun to bring an occasional dish from home for people to enjoy...and others have started participating as well.
I am constantly amazed by how little things can make such a difference in boosting morale in the workplace. I guess it's because so few people take the time to do anything to try and improve the work environment. They fail to recognize that one of the greatest needs that we all have is to be appreciated... to know that we are valued. The candy on the desk was important to the people in the department, but knowing that the manager took the time to buy it and distribute it outside of work hours probably made an even bigger impact on his people.
What do you need to do to improve the attitude and performance of the people who report to you-or who you need to be fully engaged. Before you think it might take something BIG-try starting small.