When team building exercises aren’t the answer to low morale

John Halewood Dodd
John Halewood Dodd

I recently wrote that the morale of solicitors was at an all time low as a result of the further cuts to legal aid rates.

Things are developing in relation to that as barristers have recently voted to support the action taken by their solicitor colleagues.

Raheem Sterling. Photo Lynne Cameron/PA Wire.

Raheem Sterling. Photo Lynne Cameron/PA Wire.

I will leave that to another day, but the lack of morale within the workplace seems not to be restricted to the legal profession. Almost everyone seems to be despondent about their future, that is of course unless you are a professional footballer.

Raheem Sterling, enough said! No wonder those of us not lucky enough to be blessed with the skills of young Sterling, who is undoubtedly a very talented footballer, are despondent. There are those who seem to be cashing in on this low morale as I am inundated with correspondence from businesses that offer team building events.

Undoubtedly, some of these sound like fun, but they are clearly not appropriate for everyone. One example of this was told to me by a good friend who works in the sales department of a multi-national company.

A new regional sales manager had been appointed who had no experience whatsoever, having been recruited through the company’s graduate scheme.

He was much younger than the majority of his sales team and decided the way to boost morale, and hopefully productivity, was to take them all on a team building day paint balling.

He was first there kitted out in full camouflage gear ready for battle. His colleagues were not so enthusiastic but saw it as a day away from the routine grind.

Apparently, he took it really seriously. He was teamed up with a worldly wise rep in his late 50s who had recently had a hip operation and whose enthusiasm was markedly less than his new boss. They were just about to win the “battle” by taking the opposition’s base, which required at least two team members to be encamped there for victory, when the rep turned his gun on himself splattering yellow paint everywhere.

The manager was subsequently captured and was not impressed that defeat had been snatched from the jaws of victory. Sometimes, I know just how that rep feels.