Managing Morale

Altimeter

“Low morale comes with a high price tag”

Relationship altitude

Relationships face a number of growing pressures over time that tax the capabilities of the individuals within them and inhibit the ability of the partners to enjoy and benefit derived from being in the relationship to begin with. These can be as simple as long-days, the day-to-day stresses of a job, endless household chores and just loosing focus or more acutely being burdened by mounting pressures and expectations found throughout life in and outside of the relationship. They can often be found in latent and unresolved issues or conflicts, or the feelings associated with invalidation when we’re taken for granted and our contributions are ignored, forgotten or unappreciated. It is important to recognize that morale is a nebulous emotional energy state, and like all energies, it is in constant flux depending upon how that energy is utilized. It can drive a relationship forward or serve as the fuel that feeds relationship discontent depending upon how those states are managed. Good leaders and managers know that morale is their responsibility and is established from the top down and that morale has both an individual and group (relationship between parties) component to this human phenomenon. That is, the leader within any organization is responsible for managing an individual’s individual morale and then managing the morale for the relationship- people first, relationship second. Simply put, sick people don’t make for healthy relationships or organizations and great leaders manage this.

Leadership first

Short-term fixes create long-term problems, because they don’t address the issue. Energizing and motivating your team has its place, but should not serve as the foundation of morale. As the leader of the relationship it is your responsibility to set the tone, nature and culture for the morale of the relationships. It is determined by your overall presence, your masculinity as a man, through your thoughts, actions and the manner in which you carry yourself. It will be represented in the manner in which you respond and meet her hypergamous nature. How you demonstrate composure, reserve and calm, through steady control of emotions and maturity. It will be displayed in your confidence in knowing your capabilities, your belief in those skills and the actions you take proving those attributes. They will be on display when you face adversity, showing resilience in a tendency to recover quickly from a set-back, shock, or adversity and in maintaining purpose and focus when stressed. Good leaders know that emotions and emotional energy are contagious; that they are contagious between people. As such, they will utilize those attributes to their favor, by leading by example, showcasing and sharing positive traits and nipping negative traits in the bud, before they spread and grow. In this regard morale is viewed as a culture, not a band-aide, as your partner will need to have leadership they can believe in, before they can have faith in the relationship.

Individual morale

The world’s best militaries recognize that they must first respond to the needs of the individual soldier before that soldier can or will attend the needs of the higher organization. They do this by assuring that the individuals physical and emotional needs are met though good supply lines, hot food, sound cover, rest, relaxation and recovery, news from home, the quality and care of the equipment they will be utilizing and the training and support they receive. They further recognize that quality of life is serious business to their organizational mission and therefore have a uniformed approach to the care of the workforce and their families. That’s why on every major military installation you will find a myriad of services and infrastructure to support, sustain and strengthen the individual and their families. Likewise in relationships, we need to care for our partners first, before we consider caring for the relationship. We must have a firm understanding of our partner’s emotional and physical needs and address those needs. In turn we must then go beyond just the basics and attend to the quality of the life of our partner, as well as their basic needs, before we can expect them to focus on the relationship and relationship goals.

Relationship morale

In actively managing a relationship and the business of it, we must make certain that the relationship sticks to its core purpose. In simple terms this is benefits management. Are you actively managing the reasons why you and your partner are in a relationship with each other? Are those reasons being met? If this was a business model, are your employees getting paid on time? Are they compensated appropriately? Are they able to take sick leave and vacations, as needed and desired, or is that benefit package in name only, due to workload and staffing constraints? Is the working culture what was promised when they interviewed? Are their contributions and work efforts recognized and rewarded? Do they feel that they make a difference? As a corporation how competitive are you? Every high-tech company offers stock options, but how many offers high morale? Is it any wonder that those that do are coveted work places, draw superior talent due to it and tend to be more successful because of it? How does your relationship brand and culture compare? It should come as no surprise that measuring relationship satisfaction is correlated to relationship longevity… just how far have you prepared your relationship to go?

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Living in the present

You cannot flourish until you’ve freed yourself from your mind.

Forwards, backwards, with nothing in-between.

It takes a particular man to be able to not only face life’s ups and downs, but to expect them, to chart his life through them, to be able to take a woman’s hand, care for her and guide her as well, a man willing and able to rise to the occasion of being a father and raise that child to be a better individual than he was. You cannot hope to be that man if you are racked by incessant dwelling upon past mistakes, failures and let-downs, or shaken to the core fearing known or unknown risks, obstacles or threats that loom in the future. Resisting these realities is the hallmark of suffering. The only way to prevent that is to firmly be living in the present, to acknowledge reality for what it is, rather than what you’d like it to be, to make room for that reality in your life and to deal with what is at hand and what you can control and affect, while at the same time letting go of everything that you cannot.

Fear and loathing

It is unfortunate that most people require a great deal of pain and suffering to relinquish their resistance to reality and acceptance of it. The pain, anger, remorse that you create that stems from this is always some form of non-acceptance and resistance to what is. The intensity of this pain and misery depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment and your emotional and ego connection to it within your mind that you are unwilling to let go of. These feelings are a symptom of your mind, not life. Life doesn’t suck, your state of mind does.

You cannot find yourself in the past… only the lessons.

It is highly common for people to spend a great deal of time reliving the past. Reliving the past often tends to create thoughts about how we could have done things differently, or better. While it is sometimes useful to review the past for the purpose of learning and improvements by conducting a self-analysis or a relationship autopsy, undue dwelling on the ‘if’s, and’s, should have’s and but’s often leads to a degenerative mental state that compounds natural and appropriate remorse, regret and dissatisfaction with a cancerous, soul-sucking state of depression.

You cannot create the future, but only make room for it.

Equally common is the pattern of behavior associated with excessive concern in anticipating the effects of the future. Doing so is results in a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety, which are precursors to outright fear. Constantly examining the ‘what if’s’ takes a tremendous emotional and energy toll with very little resulting yield in return. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t plan or understand the potential consequences of our actions, but that we shouldn’t be paralyzed in the analysis of them. To become so driven by fear that we ultimately live a life that is half lived and having missed out on what could have/should have been in the process.

Free yourself, free your mind.

Most of us are constantly looking to the past, or to the future to define our realities. The results are predictably severe anxiety, depression, stress and other negative emotional states that come to overwhelmingly affect the health and well-being of our lives in ways we often don’t anticipate. In many cases we become so focused and centered on either the past or the future that we become totally unaware of the moment and we are simply not present for our lives. We see this in men who are wrecked and are emotionally still carrying the burden of a failed relationship or the opposite, those that are making themselves physically sick over a relationship they don’t have, with women that are unavailable to them. We see this in men frozen in fear pondering the risk and responsibilities of being a man in this society, whether it’s in the form of approach anxiety, a lack of faith within themselves that leads to self sabotage or genuine fears of the SMP (sexual market place) and the dating environment that leads to relationship avoidance. When we are not living in the present we are rarely, if ever not only not accepting the world around us, but our own nobility and ability, which ultimately becomes your own personal narrative and proven case history. The result is remarkable suffering and a distorted perception of life in some form or another that will play out in every relationship we ever have.

Bring the hurt, the pain and betrayal…

In times of hurt, it is important to feel the hurt, experience the pain, release yourself to it and then let it go. You are not your feelings, but the conscious awareness behind them. In times of fear, let it wash past you without turning your aside knowing you are not defined by your fears, but your reaction to them. In times of betrayal realize that the broken promises, failed expectations and poor behavior choices were theirs, not yours and in no way reflects upon you. The actions of others say more to their values than it ever does yours. It is important to feel the feelings, learn the lessons and carry on. The past doesn’t demand that it be re-lived, only experienced and then remembered. Honor it that way.

Surrendering to the present

When one stops resisting reality, accepts it for what it is rather than what one would like, would have projected or tried to control, by letting reality in and making room for it by letting go of attachments and to truly accept what is, for what it is, one is surrendering to the present. It is at those times in which we are truly in the moment and living in the present. We are living without judgment or comparison to what we wish for and we are free from the twin tyrannies of depressions associated with the past and anxieties and fears surrounding the future. Doing so allows us to be liberated from the incessant dwelling of our mind and allows us to connect intensely to our current situation, without those debilitating distractions. It allows us to listen for the answers that a situation is really calling for that we normally would have never heard otherwise. In the acceptance of reality we are placing ultimate trust within ourselves. We do not need to seek the safety of a harbor when facing a storm. We learn to brave the seas, weather the gales and confidently sail for distance shores.