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How to build team morale as a lead developer 1

How to build team morale as a lead developer

Morale and positive reinforcement are the backbones of successful teams. As a lead developer, you have to take it seriously. Numerous studies show that employee morale plays a vital role in any organization’s success.

Why focus on developer motivation?

Other than the benefits at an individual level, team morale boosters work to elevate the employer brand. Unmotivated employees leaving an organization can share negative comments about the company culture. On sites like Glassdoor, where employees can share their views on the company, team, and managers, negative reviews can deter prospective talent from joining your company.

Being a senior developer in the team, you are in the position to take measures to ensure developer motivation. It is essential because:

  • Positive team morale leads to increased productivity. There is existing proof that boosted confidence produces quality work.
  • Morale will keep developers in your team striving hard to overcome challenges. If there’s a problem with your team’s morale, it’s doubtful that they will put in extra hard work.
  • Team morale reduces the attrition rate too. Your company gets to retain top talent, and motivated team members create a healthy work environment. It also facilitates business costs by ensuring your team delivers quality work every time.

Morale is intangible and has no formula, but there are simple steps you can take to encourage developers and boost their confidence. Here we list some strategic ways to support your team’s morale.

1. Help find meaning in the work

It will be hard to keep developers motivated if they cannot find meaning in what they do. How does your team feel about the work? Are they satisfied with work at the end of the day?

If the developers struggle to find meaning or pleasure in their work, help them reassess their position.

You can utilize the Meaning, Pleasure, Strengths (MPS) Process developed by Harvard professor and best-selling author Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar. It is a three-step strategy to help anyone find meaning in work.

Lead developers are responsible for assessing programmers in their team individually. You have to understand the person to help them find meaning in what they do.

Ensure that the developers are not stuck in a rut at any step. It will kill their creativity and motivation to excel.

2. Provide adequate time and resources

Providing adequate time and resources is also essential for boosting developer motivation. When it comes to millennials, development, and training resources are more important than any other incentive to motivate them.  

If you do not dedicate enough time or resources, you are not providing your team with enough room to progress. It would help if you fixed that as it can risk a drop in morale.

As a lead developer, when you offer your team learning resources and development programs, it strengthens your position as a leader. It shows them that you’re willing to invest in them and want them to be better at their jobs.

3. Define practical yet challenging goals

Specific goals efficiently drive software engineers. Ambiguity confuses their analytical minds. It is your responsibility to maintain a sustainable schedule to deliver objectives. Your teammates might not mind putting in extra hours or working on weekends if an unexpected technological challenge arises, but they will resent working overtime regularly.

The software development cycle often has a time crunch. No one will want to work on a project with unreal goal delivery deadlines. As a team manager, you must maintain a work schedule conducive to developer motivation.

4. Give practical input and encourage creativity

Appreciated employees are far more productive; Gallup found that acknowledgment is the best motivator to retain top performers in the team. In his book How Full Is Your Bucket? Tom Rath argues that employees who receive regular, positive recognition experience higher morale and productivity. Such employees are more loyal to the company and go the extra mile to deliver better customer satisfaction.

It would help if you focused on delivering practical input to developers. Tell them how well they are doing and what they can do to improve the quality of the code. You can encourage creativity by shining the spotlight on teammates by sharing fun and engaging stories about their successes.

5. Promote continuous learning

Developers rejoice in opportunities that allow them to learn new skills. You can use continuous learning as a team morale booster. By creating an environment for learning, you can keep developers motivated to apply their learning to deliver high-performing solutions. Learning keeps developers challenged, and when your team realizes that they are garnering invaluable information through learning, they will want to learn more and grow more.


Your team’s morale is a crucial measure of how motivated and driven the developers are. Boosting team morale is an ongoing effort. It goes beyond free merchandise, social events, and incentives. There is a boost in morale by investing in more important things like career growth, learning, and personal development. Utilize the strategies shared here to create a healthy and positive culture within your team.

Talent500 has helped some of the biggest companies across the globe build their remote teams. If you are motivated to become part of a distributed workforce, we have career redefining opportunities. Join our platform today.

Zaiba Fathima

Zaiba Fathima

Zaiba is Talent500's Product business analyst. Her degree in Computer Science helps her decipher the requirements of the product-engineering team, and understand both sides of the picture. Central to product development and delivery, Zaiba aspires to become a product manager at a young age and a director of the product team at rapid speed.

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