A key measure of a team’s health is the state of its morale. High performance groups typically show a good level of social cohesiveness and tolerance. It doesn’t mean that they are free from disagreement, what they are free from is acrimony. Constructive argument is good, destructive bickering is bad. So one of the tasks of any management is to maintain the morale of its workforce.
At the project level it means constantly assessing the level of cooperation within the team. Low levels of cooperation are an indicator of poor teamwork and morale. It also involves making every member of your team feel that their contributions are essential and that they are regarded has valued members of it.
The wide spread practice of forcing performance ratings that follow a normal distribution on a team is counter productive to maintaining good morale. It is hard to think of a more destructive action than forcing managers to rank their team within a prescriptive range. It doesn’t take long for people who have been designated as a poor performer to start acting like one.
Maintaining morale is a key management function, it cannot be delegated to some other body. One sign that a management team has run out of ideas is when they create a Morale Committee consisting of members of their workforce. Basically they are saying we know your morale is bad, so fix it! So if your company creates one then it’s time to reconsider your decision to stay there. Bad management cannot be fixed from within.