Thursday, 5 January 2012

Mission Impossible: acts of derring-do

Continuing my series of using contemporary movies to illustrate leadership principles, I had the pleasure of sitting on the edge of my seat for over two hours the other day watching MI4: Ghost Protocol. As always great special effects such that I now worry that several Muscovites will have kittens watching the Kremlin being blown apart.

The film prompted me to consider morale and what leaders do to encourage it. The IMF team plainly have buckets of it since they can jump out of high windows, onto pointy objects and from moving vehicles without a backward glance to H&S procedures or employment conditions. Throughout the film I kept wondering, what keeps them motivated? It certainly can't be their pension plans...

Back in the real world, people don't take such risks, of course. But perhaps, relatively speaking, many do. People have to put themselves out there: talk to complete strangers and keep calm, pay as much attention to the first bolt being tightened in the day as the last one, or keep your eye out for other white van drivers also eating sandwiches. All of these jobs (and many others) carry risk and responsibility - and morale is a key ingredient. Moreover, without morale, there is often little innovation and not enough of the straight oomph needed to stay afloat in these austere and troubling times.

So as a leader, how do you know whether what you are doing is boosting morale, or making it worse? Some way of measuring this is critical. As without measurement, how will you know, whether any of you do is having a positive effect.

Within your team or organisation - how do you assess the level of morale?

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