How to Cheer for Your Team to Improve Team Morale and Teamwork

Beatriz Boavida
Feb 26, 2024
4 min read

You are facing almost impossible deadlines, there is increased pressure to meet KPIs, you are crushed by the demands in and outside work, and you need to make sure your team’s productivity is at its best. Which action are you most likely to take: Quickly point out your team’s mistakes or take the time to cheer for your team?

I could ask you to imagine the scenario, but chances are you are living it or have lived it at some point in your career. When faced with highly stressful situations, most managers find it challenging to foster synergies, productivity and respect amongst their team members. 

In part, it is because managers tend to overlook the power team morale has on team performance. Taking again the example, it may seem logical to solely focus on the mistakes – the faster you correct them, the faster you will get better results, right? But no. Only mentioning the negative part may make your team feel their efforts are unvalued or unnoticed, which then weakens their motivation, overall team morale and their performance. 

Jason Fried, co-founder of 37signals, realised this and now advocates that the best way to help your team navigate stressful situations and improve teamwork is through recognition and praise. In this article, we will explore how you can easily cheer for your team.

Low team morale leads to toxic work environments

When employee morale is high, teams can accomplish anything. 

The problem begins when team morale is low. This can happen because of poor communication within the team, lack of praise or recognition from you (the leader), increased stress, and tension or conflict between team members.

These make the perfect equation for broken team dynamics and toxic behaviours. You should look out for common signals like sabotaging, backstabbing, quiet rooting against someone or setting traps to prove one is right.

Now, the question is: How can you, as a leader, prevent these situations or solve them if they are already happening?

3-Steps to boost your team morale

For Jason Fried, team conflict and low team morale can be resolved with optimism and positivity. Here is how:

Acknowledge and recognize hard work

Honest and specific words of recognition can get you a long way, as they improve employee’s motivation and engagement. If there is one thing you should keep in mind is to celebrate always – it does not have to be just the big wins, it is even more important to celebrate the small steps.

You’ve got to cheer for everyone on your team. For everyone, you work with. For everyone you work for. Jason Fried

Embrace conflict

Don’t be surprised if a conflict arises, assume it can happen, and create the space for its prevention and resolution.

It is common for people to believe that they can meaningfully impact others without ever generating conflicts and disagreements. Ditch this bias. Conflicts are a necessary and healthy part of building a cohesive and strong team. Your role as a leader is to help and support your team navigate these moments. 

One great strategy you can use to include and smoothly address conflict in your everyday business life is Airbnb’s Elephant, Dead Fish, and Vomit Activity. Basically, in your team meetings, you should take the time to ask your employees to share:

This approach allows you to address key issues, boost team morale, and encourage transparency, empathy, and mutual understanding between every team member.

Do not give up if it does not work out

Have patience, bring your best intentions, and remember to listen to your employees.

Additionally, to improve teamwork, make communication easy with your team. Instead of long emails and endless meetings, you can follow Netflix’s example of using brief online memos to quickly update and facilitate decision-making.

“If you have the power to change the team, change it (don’t ignore it). If you have the power to be on the team, be on it (not against it). If you can only muster the power to leave the team, leave it after you’ve given it everything you’ve got.” – Jason Fried


Choosing to act with positivity in the face of stress and challenges is key if you want to build a team that is motivated and produces outstanding work. Remember, change only happens if you embody that change, if you make it better – as Jason Fried says “company culture is not written down, it’s acted out.”

Here are the 3-steps to embrace cheering and boost team morale:

  1. Acknowledge and recognize hard work – celebrate every win.

  2. Embrace conflict – use Airbnb’s Elephant, Dead Fish, and Vomit Activity.

  3. Do not give up if it does not work out – ask your employees for feedback and make communication easier within the team (e.g. online memos).

Make your team love mondays!

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