What is Eating Away at Morale?

There are many things that can eat away at your employees’ morale.  Some of the factors are related to outside influences while others are a direct influence from work place conditions.  One inside factor that drives employee morale is what I like to call the “glory hound” manager. What do I mean by “glory hound”?  That is a manager or supervisor who likes to take all the credit when everything goes well but deflects all the blame when thing don’t.

In my experience, I have found that many young/new managers feel that they need to build themselves up to either justify their new position or to start working towards the next promotion.  What they fail to realize is that the higher up you move up the corporate ladder, the more dependent you are on the people you manage. They can make you look real good or likewise, they can make you look real bad.

As a branch manager at a national bank, I was responsible for all day to day activities, but my main focus was on sales.  At this institution, we had monthly and quarterly sales goals for our products and services. My area manager would generally show up at my branch once a week to discuss sales.  At these meeting we would review the offices sales goals and our progress from week to week as well as year over year. When we were having a successful week, I would always deflect credit towards my team.  Comments such as “my tellers really did a great job seeing opportunities and sending them over to the bankers.” Or “the bankers did an excellent job of closing the sale.” On the flip side, when things did not go well, I accepted the blame.  I would state that “I did not manage the floor properly.” Or “I did not sit in on enough sales with the bankers.” Now this does not mean I did not hold the bankers or tellers responsible, but I would not throw them under the bus. However, a “glory hound” manager would throw them under the bus, not realizing in the process, it makes them look just as bad.  Not only does it make the manager look bad, but you lose respect amongst your team. It is no different than a great quarterback. When the team wins, he deflects the credit. Comments you might hear from him are “the offensive coordinator called a great game, so and so made some tough catches, and so on. However, when he throws an interception, he says he needs to throw a better pass or needs to see the defensive back.  This is how a great leader makes his/her team better and keeps morale high, even at low points. That wideout, who may have ran the wrong route, leading to the interception, now knows, his “leader” is not going to throw him under the bus.

By following this, you are showing your team that you have their back.  In turn, they will continue to work hard for you and produce. They will even go that extra mile because they trust and respect you.  Don’t be a “glory hound”, but celebrate your teams success.


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