Report: Strategies for Reducing/Resolving Low Morale

Around the same time I began collecting data for the Low Morale Spot-Check survey, I also created another survey to ask people who have dealt with low morale to share their strategies for reducing the occurrence of low morale or its effects.  In short, this survey takes a closer look at how people engage in mitigation methods.

As a reminder, mitigation methods are conscious and deliberate behaviors low-morale victims perform to reduce or resolve their experience. These actions directly affect workplace abusers and/or address enabling systems of low morale (Kendrick 2017).

It’s taken a while to gather a decent bit of feedback – after almost eight months of collection, I’ve received 30 responses. Here are the results at press time:

  • 93% of respondents have experienced low morale
  • 78% have experienced emotional abuse
  • 75% have experienced negligence
  • 75% have experienced system abuse
  • 71% have experienced verbal or written abuse
  • 63% have engaged in mitigation methods

Mitigation methods were highly individualized but can be broadly categorized: 

  • Using formal reporting channels or reporting up the formal chain-of-command
  • Documenting abuses
  • Confronting the abuser(s) directly
  • Finding another job
  • Creating connections with other departments in the library or on campus
  • Taking specific offered training or using techniques shared in trainings
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Diversity,
    •  Interpersonal communication
  • Consulting resources to create or implement communication or behavior tactics

I also asked what factors/outcomes made their mitigation method(s) successful. Some responses:

A person who is documenting abusive behavior shared, “I feel empowered having the evidence I need to make my situation better. Other staff are doing the same, so collectively we will have a body of information to bring to the table. It still feels awful when you’re being abused, but I know it won’t be forever.”

Another person who involved Human Resources noted, “I think involving HR with each incident helped my co-worker understand that, while everyone else (including our director) may tolerate her behavior–I would not. She stopped losing her temper around me, but it did continue with other co-workers. In the long term, I think my standing up to her helped far more than I ever anticipated…”

The survey remains open if you’d like participate. Periodically, I’ll share updates or thoughts and ideas as more responses come in.

Works Cited

Kendrick, K.D. (2017). The low-morale experience of academic librarians: A phenomenological study. Journal of Library Administration, 57(8): 846-878. Retrieved from


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