Embrace The Art Of Masterful Storytelling to Boost Employee Morale
I’m often intrigued by entrepreneurs who seek inspiration for their victorious business moves from the lessons learned in their childhood.
Steve Jobs is a great example. As the founder of multi-million dollar ventures like Apple, Pixar, and NeXT, Steve credits some of the most quirky ideas to his business. And I’m genuinely impressed, inspired by his trick to motivate teams and keep employee morale at its peak, every day.
Let’s just say that he has turned one of the most popular bedtime rituals into one of the most powerful leadership tools. He has shown how leaders and bosses can use the art of masterful storytelling to increase their team’s morale and motivation to achieve greater things.
In this particular post, I’m going to introspect how creative communication and narrative skills can be used to bring about change.
Your team’s morale is beginning to slip. Can you see the signs?
Low employee morale is a silent killer. And when it strikes, it not only kills an employee’s on-the-job attitude and productivity but also shows dramatic effects on almost every aspect of the business.
What’s more? Well, we as bosses and managers often fail to understand how and why our employees feel down and disengaged at work. Sure, low employee morale is quite overwhelming to deal with. But in most cases, there are clear signs that can be detected and corrected before they spread from just one person to your entire team — or the entire company.
However, if it’s hard for you to detect the signs of low morale and poor workplace engagement, here’s something that you may find helpful. Below, I’ll walk you through some common signs that indicate low morale in the workplace and can help you identify the root causes of the issue.
- Lack of trust — invulnerability
- Constant conflicts — lack of workplace harmony
- Lack of commitment — ambiguity
- Avoidance of accountability — low standards
- Subpar results — uninspired and lacking innovation
So, how does Steve Jobs keeps his employees motivated?
Leadership isn’t always about telling people what they need to do. Sometimes, you just need to focus on inspiring people around you and make them realize that they are a part of something bigger, better. Leaders like Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, and Steve Jobs don’t need to get reminded of this fact. They know how important the team is to a company’s success and have some super doper cool ideas on keeping their team’s morale up all day, every day.
Steve Jobs, as a leader, used the art of stellar storytelling to improve employee morale in the workspace. Here’s a quick peek into how Steve Jobs inspired Apple’s employees with compelling stories.
We all are familiar with the tradition started by Steve Jobs in which the signature of every member of the original Macintosh team is engraved on the inside of every Mac. But that’s not all. When he wanted everyone to forget Mac OS 9 and focus on Mac OS X, he went for the most absurd idea ever — he conducted a mock funeral as a tribute to Mac OS 9. And here’s what he said in his eulogy — “Mac OS 9 was a friend to all of us. He worked tirelessly on our behalf, always hosting our applications, never refusing a command, always at our beck and call, except occasionally when he forgot who he was and needed to be restarted”.
The idea certainly gives a personal and unique twist to the way people work at Apple. What do you think? Well, save it because there is more.
Steve Jobs has always given people the opportunity to be a part of something exciting. So, in his attempt to motivate a group of wary developers to build apps for the new Macintosh platform, Jobs shares the story about someone who had already made the switch. “This is a developer I’ve known for a long time. I gave him a call and I said, ‘We’ve got something really secret we’re working on and I can’t tell you what it is, but I want you to put all your source code on a hard disc and fly out here… I think you’re going to be very pleasantly surprised.”
But how did it help? Through the story, Jobs suggested other developers take the leap of faith just like their fellow developer. He inspired them, he gave them a direction, and most importantly, he tapped into their FOMO.
How can narratives help you to keep your employees — and yourself — motivated at work?
I invite you to ask yourself, “What’s my signature story?” Every person has one. Every company, startup or brand has one, too.
Having signature stories is like having valuable assets that can be leveraged over time to provide inspiration, motivation, and direction to people — both inside and outside the firm. Whether or not you agree with Steve Jobs’s way to motivate people, you can’t deny the fact that narratives and stories can help people to connect. If you’re an entrepreneur or a manager, mastering the art of masterful storytelling gives you the ability to grab people’s attention — employees, clients, stakeholders, or anyone else. And that’s something that every entrepreneur and manager should learn as soon as possible.
Did you know that low morale costs $350 billion dollars each year in lost productivity and over 22 million employees are “actively disengaged” with their current job? Do you want your employees to be a part of that population? I guess not.
So what are you waiting for? Use your creative communication skills and narrative ways to inspire people and lift up their morale, as done by Steve Jobs and many other top entrepreneurs.
Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder and CEO of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. He’s one person always on a lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams, and organizations. You’ll find him saying, “Let’s go!” instead of “Go!” many times a day. That’s what makes him write about leadership in a way people are inspired to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.