Group morale is a key contributor to the success of a group, increasing cohesion, reducing burnout and preventing activist turnover.
Developing a good task / maintenance balance
Groups can become overly focused on the task at hand – especially when the task is preventing environmental destruction – at the expense of the maintenance of individual and group well-being. This means paying attention to how things are done not only what gets done particularly in terms of attending to group process that maintains interpersonal relationships and work satisfaction. Attention to group maintenance whether it be in meetings or daily activities can help to sustain your group for effective work in the long haul.
Building team relationships
Good teamwork can be one of your most effective tools for making a difference. Understanding and valuing the individual needs, skills, talents, resources and styles of working and communicating which each person brings to your team can help each person to do their best work. Your team can then synergise these energies for maximum effectiveness. There are many options for training and support for team building.
Resolving conflicts and improving communication
Nothing saps the energy like unresolved conflict, or confuses an issue like misunderstanding and mis-communication. Good techniques for communication – both oral and written – and for resolving inevitable conflicts, will help your group to function effectively. Groups that see conflict as an opportunity for development rather than as something to be avoided, are more likely to flourish. Basic training in conflict resolution skills can be a good in investment maintaining the group. Taking time to resolve conflict, if necessary with a neutral third party mediator or facilitator can prevent serous damage to group morale.
Celebrating successes & achievements
Too often our successes and achievements are overlooked in the rush on to the next thing. In the world of social change activism, where there are many setbacks, it is vital that the group does take time to celebrate, to validate achievements and provide impetus to carry on.
Nonviolent Community Safety and Peacebuilding Handbook, Pt’chang, 2003, pages 66-67.