What is MORALE?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Scott Stafford
  • 509th Security Forces Squadron
There should be no doubt, our military mission hinges on high MORALE. Without it, the mission can still be done, but only begrudgingly. We must look out for our number 1 asset - our people. We can lead the proverbial horse to water and because we have military discipline, we can even make it drink, but if it doesn't like what it's drinking it will buck us all the way. 

This is where high MORALE enters the picture! We as leaders at every level must strive to drive MORALE through the roof. MORALE must be treated as the cornerstone of success. The foundation for building great MORALE is: 

M - Motivate, mentor and mold 

  • Motivate all Airmen to do the best job they can do. Pride will catapult morale to new heights.
  • Mentor our Airmen, so they can excel at everything they do.
  • Mold our Airmen and meld them into the mission, because everyone makes our Air Force the best in the world and that sense of belonging will launch morale skyward.
O - Obliterate obstacles, open-mindedness and offer opportunities 

  • Obliterate obstacles by truly having an "open door" policy, because a good working relationship with the chain of command will improve morale.
  • Be open-minded to all ideas, because the younger, fresher technological force will propel us and our morale into the 21st century. The "old way" is just that - old.
  • Offer opportunities to all, whether it be educational, job related, volunteerism, etc., because if our Airmen's needs are being fulfilled their morale will take flight.
R - Recognize, reward and reprimand 

  • Recognize everyone's accomplishments, because acceptance is what most crave and is a sure-fire method of keeping morale on target.
  • Reward success to reinforce standards, teamwork, etc. Earned approval will guide our Airmen and "belonging" will blast morale off the charts.
  • Reprimand consistently across the board, because if everyone is on the same playing field and knows the rules, the team will succeed. Success breeds high morale.
A - Adjust attitudes, acknowledge aspirations and attainable goals 

  • Adjust attitudes, when needed. Everyone will have bad days, but with the proper tune-up, those bad days will be fewer and farther between.
  • Acknowledge and accommodate aspirations, so everyone can progress and/or promote to their full potential.
  • Attainable goals means defining a margin of error no matter how high the bar is set. Our people will make mistakes, but with proper guidance, morale will not suffer.
L - Leadership, loyalty and egacy 

  • Leadership has the ultimate responsibility for the group's morale. Simply put, their morale and the importance they place on morale sets the tone for the masses.
  • Loyalty works both ways. As the old adage says, "take care of your people and they will take care of you." We must all work toward a common goal of high morale.
  • Legacy? The Airman knows he or she belongs to the greatest team, but does anyone else besides their immediate family? Make all Airmen part of the legacy, so morale soars tirelessly
E - Everyone, everywhere, every time 

  • Everyone must work together, everywhere we go and every time we put on the uniform to positively influence morale.
In summary, MORALE is more than a six-letter word. As Gen. George Catlett Marshall, who later became Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient stated, "Morale is a state of mind. It is steadfastness and courage and hope. It is confidence and zeal and loyalty...esprit de corps and determination."