High moral implies a sense of purpose and self worth with the willingness to go that extra yard. Low moral in any organisation will lower performance and therefore profits. Leaders with a great deal of trust and motivation will be able to generate commitment and sense of purpose to the organisation. Success should be openly celebrated, and the resultant feeling of being a part of a successful organisation, together with confidence in leadership, will fuel high morale. However, it is not something that can be taken for granted and leaders have to be alert to its temperature and ready to act positively when some set back threatens to undermine it.
Good morale is impossible without good leaders. It is that intangible force which will move a whole workforce to give their last ounce to achieve something, without counting the cost to themselves; that makes them feel they are part of something greater than themselves. If they are to feel that, their morale must, if it is to endure – and the essence of morale is that it should endure – have certain foundations. These foundations are spiritual, intellectual and material and that is the order of importance. Spiritual first, because only spiritual foundations can stand real strain. Next intellectual, because workers are swayed by reason as well as feeling. Material although important last because the very highest kinds of morale are more often met when resources are low.
These were the words of Lieutenant General William Slim when he transformed the utterly defeated British Eastern Army into the victorious Fourteenth Army between 1943 and 1945 where one of the principles of war ‘maintenance of moral’ was seen at its best.