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How do I get morale up in my organization during down times? This is a key question for any leader. Here are four factors that affect morale:
  1. The person's immediate supervisor
  2. The people around them
  3. The structure and its systems
  4. The leader of the organization
This last one is the most important, because the leader can affect the first three. If I'm down, the organization is down. Here's how I pick myself up and keep my energy and morale high so that I don't bring down my organization.

  • Worship—I really enjoy being by myself and singing along with worship tapes.
  • Wake up Call from God—Since 1972, I've had time alone with God in the middle of the night about once a week. I get my Bible, pen and legal pad, and let God fill me with His ideas and vision. This is a life-changing time for me.
  • Withdrawal time—The more pressure I'm under, the more I need solitude. I frequently use time on the airplane for this withdrawal time and it helps me immensely.
  • Prayer partners—Bill Klassen has been my primary prayer partner for years. Nothing gives me more encouragement than knowing Bill is lifting me up before God.
  • Embrace God's sovereignty—I keep myself up by remembering that God is still in control.
  • Give it to God and get to work—This is when I get on with what I've been called to do and leave my discouragement behind with God.
  • Make a commitment—I laminated the following statement on a card and carried it with me for years: "Until I am committed, there is a hesitancy, a chance to draw back. But the moment I definitely commit myself, then God moves also, and a whole stream of events erupts. All manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, persons, and material assistance, which I could never have dreamed would come my way, begin to flow toward me—the moment I make a commitment."
  • Put plans on paper—This step makes the problem or a solution visual, therefore it becomes real.
  • Spend time with positive people—We all have to spend some time with negative people in the course of work, but why would anyone spend their own time with people who don't pick them up and encourage them?
  • Work during the peak times—I know that mornings are my peak time. I schedule primary activities accordingly.
  • Read encouraging letters—When I'm feeling emotionally drained, I pull out my file of letters that people have written to me over the years, and all the criticism of the day washes away.
  • Keep visual encouragers close at hand—A letter, plaque, or inspirational quote can keep me focused on a truth I'm trying to incorporate into my life. A funny cartoon or saying can keep me from taking things too seriously.
  • Keep friends/encouragers close by—Those who have my best interests at heart can share with me something no one else can.
  • Buy the right books and tapes—Charlie "Tremendous" Jones taught me years ago that the only thing that will make me become the person I dream of being is the books and tapes I listen to and the people I associate with.
  • Positive self-talk—You have experienced the benefits of encouraging others. Why would you not try to be your own best encourager?
  • Accept life—It's hard; accept it! It's never fair; it's never easy. In fact, life becomes easier only when we cease to think it should be easy.
  • Understand the power of the attitude—I can't choose my circumstance, but I learned a long time ago that I can choose my attitude about my circumstance.
  • Take time off—There's nothing like a change of scenery to focus and recharge me in every aspect of my life.
Here's the bottom line: don't try to motivate others until you've motivated yourself. If you're motivated, it will be contagious. People will catch enthusiasm and vision, and you'll find momentum you've never experienced before!

This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free
monthly e-newsletter: Leadership Wired available at

Author Biography

John C. Maxwell
Web site: Injoy Group
John Maxwell grew up in the 1950s in the small Midwestern city of Circleville, Ohio. John's earliest childhood memory is of knowing that he would someday be a pastor. He professed faith in Christ at the age of three, and reaffirmed that commitment when he was 13. At age 17, John began preparing for the ministry. He attended Circleville Bible College, earning his bachelor's degree in 1969. In June of that same year, he married his sweetheart, Margaret, and moved to tiny Hillham, Indiana, where he began his first pastorate.

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