If I was to ask what makes for a successful digital marketing agency, I would expect to hear about effective marketing campaigns, creative ideas, productivity and ideas that make money for clients. What if I was to tell you that your digital marketing agency will not deliver any of these without paying close attention to mood and morale within the team?

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Mood and morale

We are all susceptible to mood changes for a variety of reasons. Everyone has a private life and even those with the most stable lives will sometimes have roller-coaster periods in their lives. That’s life.

Other variables that can affect our moods are what’s happening in the news, the weather, workload, job security and general health, and these are just a few factors off the top of my head. Mood changes shouldn’t really have an impact on your digital marketing agency.

Where mood becomes a problem is where negative feelings linger too long, creating potential mental health issues for the individual while also impacting on their ability to perform. That is tricky enough but when negative thinking spreads from one person to an entire team creating low morale, the issue becomes more serious and needs to be resolved as quickly as possible. This is especially true for a digital marketing agency where lateral thinking and creativity play a part in the service.

Lifting mood and morale

We have looked at the issue of happiness and digital marketing teams in another article. Clearly a happy team is a more productive, creative and ultimately more successful team. That’s all well and good but what can you do, systematically, to lift the morale of your digital marketing team and ensure nobody is left out.

Caring for the individual

You may not be a large firm but that does not mean you can’t create a workplace where team members feel supported and encouraged to grow.

Make sure that you are addressing people as individuals and seeking to understand their mindset through regular 1-2-1 meetings and appraisals. Your employees don’t have to tell you what’s going on in their lives and you can’t force them to. As leaders, your managers and team leaders need to promote as open and positive environment as possible, and project approachable and understanding personas. The best bosses are the ones that staff feel they can trust and confide in.

By being sensitive to the needs of the individual, you can monitor and respond to mood issues as they arise, offering support to people before their mood can become more damaging to them or the people around them.

Caring for the team

A strong team is a finely tuned machine. All members slot in with each other perfectly and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Teams work better when everyone shares a vision and buys into the goal. If your company values are completely at odds with the way your people see how things should be done, you may have a problem. People are passionate when they buy in completely with the plan. If they don’t agree with the plan or have their own agenda, sooner or later, this incongruence will impact on your business.

If you care about your team and its members there are a number of things you can do to help their operations to run smoothly.

Hire the right staff

Don’t take recruitment lightly. If you ever had to hire a childminder to look after your little ones, then think about how how careful were. You would want to know how well qualified and experienced this person is. You would want to know what facilities they have and what their other clients had to say about their service. More than anything you would very closely observe how they gelled with your loved ones at that first meeting. Did your children instantly warm to them? Did they warm to your children.

Are you hiring someone who has the technical ability but the diplomatic skills of Donald Trump? Does the person you are bringing into your team have a war zone for a personal life and is every day going to be an opportunity for them to bring drama to your digital marketing agency?

Give them clear instruction

Having a clearly defined mission that expresses the goals of your company generally and on a job by job basis will strengthen your team. Weak leadership dampens morale.

Strong and effective communication is pretty essential across the board within an organisation. It is like the oil of the machine. It prevents friction between the moving parts and facilitates a smooth operation. Does everyone have a clearly defined role? Are team members fully aware of what is expected of them? Does everyone understand the project and how they fit into it.

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A lack of direction can leave people feeling like they are floating or there is no plan in their day. It can lead to misunderstandings and that’s when balls are dropped. If there is a sense that the company couldn’t organise an evening of intoxication in a brewery, that will not help morale. That leads to the next point on caring for your digital marketing team.

Good planning

Poor scheduling will bring a variety of undesirable consequences. An overscheduled person is not going to be able to deliver a high quality service. Either corners will have to be cut deliberately or the service will be poor because it is rushed. It is unlikely that any creative solutions will come out of an overscheduled team because you need to create the space for innovative thought processes to happen.

We all like to have a plan in our lives and our workplace and nobody likes to be bored. Under scheduling the team will lead to people becoming under stimulated, doubtful about the success of the company and will make your digital marketing agency less profitable. Worse still, if you have an overscheduled employee sitting next to an under scheduled team member, you add fuel to the fire. Nothing eats away at team morale more than the perception of injustice.

A team that is overscheduled cannot respond to issues. Things don’t always go according to plan. Clients may want something new. Businesses mostly want new projects to work on and if you are overscheduled, are you going to have to turn good work away or risk letting people down?

If you are not planning your work efficiently and effectively you are doing a disservice to your digital marketing team and your clients. Effective planning, clear processes and procedures allow your team and its members to deliver the excellence they are capable of and your clients deserve. A team that is thriving will have excellent morale which in turn will lead to even more success. Poor planning, faulty processes and ill thought out procedures will inevitably have a detrimental impact on the morale of the team.

Emotional involvement

When you hire someone for a service, you want the service provider to care, don’t you? If you get your car washed by an individual and they look like they couldn’t care less about missing bits, you won’t hire them again.

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But what it is to “care”. Doesn’t that imply emotional involvement? “I will be sad, disappointed or troubled if I don’t exceed your expectation” is the essence of caring in terms of customer care. Care and attention, emotional involvement in giving results and passion are excellent traits for delivering results but there is a flip side. Emotions affect judgement. Emotions can have a negative impact on strategic, creative or clear thinking when things are not going according to plan. That’s when slips in judgement can take place. If you have a passionate team you need to know how to manage the emotions of them all as a team, and as individuals.

Mindfulness and morale

We have looked at mood and morale. There are systematic and strategic steps that can be taken to make low morale less likely. However, how do we compensate for the variables outside of our control when managing our digital marketing team? What about the team member who has suddenly found out their partner is divorcing them? What about the team member who didn’t fit, won’t fit, is under performing and behaving negatively in the office? Sure, you should have recruited the right people but you didn’t. This person slipped through the net.

It all boils down to managing the emotions of the individuals, the team and yourself. You have to manage your own emotions because a hot head cannot effectively lead. Nor can somebody who shrinks into a ball and puts blinkers on. If you have a team member that genuinely does not fit, you can at least dampen their impact on the rest of the team by promoting a positive, friendly and productive environment.

Practising mindfulness as a leader will help you to manage your feelings about how the team is performing and the company’s fortunes. Encouraging your team to practise meditation will enable them to better manage their stress levels, their emotions and encourage open minded thinking.

Meditation may even turn around an individual who otherwise appeared to be a lost cause.

This is no exaggeration: if you want to maintain a high level of morale within your digital marketing organisation, mindfulness practice is one of the greatest tools you have. Can your company afford a 10 minute group sit every day? As you look around at the characters working in your office now, it may be hard to imagine them sitting quietly in meditation. Don’t judge a book by its cover. I have guided 1000s of people in meditation and have rarely found anybody who didn’t enjoy it. Give it a try.