Project Management Institute

Want to improve morale? Pay attention to goals, measurements and feedback

As has long been known, employee morale is directly related to performance. This article briefly reviews the literature on morale, and looks at the role management plays in organizational morale. James H. Donnelly claims that peak performance depends upon discretion, and that acceptable performance and discretionary effort result in peak performance. Most project staff have low discretion jobs, and therefore cannot be supervised into becoming more effective. The implication for project managers is that they need to create the conditions for good morale not only for those whom they directly supervise, but also for those within their sphere of influence. Project managers can help staff to establish clear goals that follow the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Accepted, Realistic, and Time-bounded) criteria, and substitute management by self-control for management by domination. Guidelines for providing and using feedback are provided.
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