How leaders can address their biggest challenge: morale [webinar]

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COVID fatigue has officially set in. Statistics on mental health are alarming as we struggle to navigate the personal impacts of the health crisis and the pandemic’s resulting effects on the economy and our future. Add to that social injustice and the political division in our country that makes headlines every day, and the result is unprecedented levels of uncertainty that continues to test our emotional fortitude as individuals.

Leaders are faced with the challenge of managing not only their own mindset in these trying times, but the morale of their team as well. In fact, when asked about the biggest leadership challenges they were facing in the Q4 2020 Vistage CEO Confidence Index survey, CEOs overwhelmingly shared their biggest challenge was related to morale. Specific responses included morale of their team, personal morale, battling COVID fatigue, zoom fatigue, mental health, keeping people engaged, and even keeping themselves engaged and focused.

To help CEOs address this leadership challenge, we assembled a panel of top Vistage experts to share their insights. Below are the key takeaways from our panelists — listen for the unique perspectives they shared in this dynamic discussion on morale.

Practice self care

Dr. Eve Meceda, research psychologist and expert on mindset shares “No matter how strong, how gritty, how tough, how invincible you think you are, nobody gets a free pass in this one. So I just want to normalize anything that people may be feeling. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure you are taking care of yourself first.”

Her recommendations for leaders start with intentionally crafting the stories they want to tell about themselves and their companies on the other side of this crisis.

Create empathy to drive behavior change

Valerie Alexander, CEO of Speak Happiness, notes that conflicts arising from COVID fatigue can be addressed by building empathy. “If leaders can build the empathy in your workforce towards each other, you are going to get such greater outcomes.”

She shares ideas on how to create empathy and caring to improve morale, as well as ideas on how to create a sense of accomplishment that is critical to employee engagement and happiness.

Be intentional with your culture

David Friedman Founder and CEO of High-Performing Culture shares ideas on being intentional in communications, words and actions, which is critical for leaders to create and maintain a strong culture. “If you didn’t historically do a good job at this when you sat in the same office, or on the same jobsite, it’s going to take a little bit more effort to connect those dots for people in a remote setting,” says Friedman.

Friedman shares suggestions on addressing zoom fatigue and how leaders can use preference and permission to encourage engagement in virtual platforms.

Leaders should find solace in the fact that they are not alone. Practicing self-care, leveraging empathy and leading with intentionality will help them lead their companies to maintain and gain momentum as the pandemic passes and the new reality takes shape. Apply these expert insights on managing morale to overcome this challenge for yourself and your team and lead towards a strong, successful future.


David Friedman, founder and CEO of High Performing Culture

David Friedman led his employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm to success through the unique corporate culture based on a collection of 30 values and behaviors that David wrote and taught. After that company sold, he went on to author 2 books – Fundamentally Different and Culture by Design – which are the foundations of workshops he has done for hundreds of companies. He has delivered his popular presentation – How to Build a High-Performance Culture: The NO BS Way to Get it Done – over 500 times to leaders in the Vistage community.


Dr. Eve Meceda, research psychologist, author, award-winning speaker

After obtaining her Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Michigan, Dr. Eve Meceda has spent more than a decade working with several leading research and consulting firms, partnering with Fortune 500 and Global 1000 organizations on issues such as leadership development, performance management, employee engagement, and the attraction and retention of high-potential employees.


Valerie Alexander, author and nationally-recognized speaker of happiness in the workplace

Valerie Alexander is a renowned expert on happiness and inclusion, and a globally-recognized speaker on the topics of happiness in the workplace, the advancement of women, and unconscious bias. Her TED Talk, “How to Outsmart Your Own Unconscious Bias” has been viewed over 200,000 times, and she has spoken at hundreds of conferences, colleges and companies, including Coca Cola, GE Capital, NASA, Santander and notable Real Estate industry events such as, WomanUP!, Luxury Connect, OwningIT, ICNY and several Associations’ annual meetings, retreats and leadership trainings.

Category : Leadership

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About the Author: Anne Petrik

As Vice President of Research for Vistage, Anne Petrik is instrumental in the creation of original thought leadership designed to inform the decision-making of CEOs of small and midsize businesses. These perspectives — shared through repo

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