How to Improve Staff Morale by Practicing Authenticity

Published On: October 4, 2023Categories: Blog

“How can I improve my staff’s morale?” is one of the most common questions amongst managers and business owners, and it makes sense: we all want our team to be happy not just because we value their humanity, but because happier people tend to be more productive and make fewer mistakes.

But what’s the best way to improve staff morale? For a lot of people, the assumption is that we need to “fake it til we make it” by putting on a big smile and a chipper voice, no matter what’s going on around us. However, the truth is that authenticity – not insincere positivity – is what raises morale.

Workers like it when they can bring their full, real selves into the workplace, and they appreciate it when their management not only embraces their personalities, quirks, and humor, but practices it themselves. While it feels almost oxymoronic, authenticity can be practiced, and by using the four pillars of the FISH! Philosophy, we can bring a more authentic nature into our workplace and our teams.

Be There: Open yourself to others

It’s easy to encourage our team to bring their most authentic selves into the workplace, but that will be far less effective if we don’t show them that we’re also practicing it ourselves. Being There means genuinely listening to people when they’re struggling, and sharing ourselves openly when others are open to listening to us.

Yes, it’s possible to overshare in the workplace, and there are certain discussions best left at home. But the more you can find instances of genuine interpersonal connection with someone else and show them that you’re willing to share your emotions and personality with them, the more likely they’ll be to reciprocate and bring their real selves into their interactions with you and the rest of the team. 

Make Their Day: Practice radical honesty

It sounds weird to say that a bit of negativity can make someone’s day: After all, Make Their Day is all about surprising and delighting those around you with moments of joy. The truth is, being totally honest by admitting when you don’t know something, owning up to your mistakes, apologizing when necessary, can make someone’s day – especially when it comes from higher-ups in the organization.

In a world where so many work environments are perpetually buttoned-up, opaque, and emotionless, moments of “real”-ness can shatter the monotony and help everyone drop the masks we all put up on a day-to-day basis. And the more you practice getting real and being honest, the more likely your whole team will start to feel empowered to do the same, leading to more engagement and stronger ideas.

Choose Your Attitude: Act how you want to be perceived

Far too often, we correlate acting on our emotions with being “authentic” to ourselves. And we get it–after all, if you’re feeling an emotion, what’s more honest than expressing that emotion? But part of being human is deciding what type of person we want to be, and what type of personality we want to show to others–and living in alignment with these values is a type of authenticity without question.

Think of it this way: If someone screws up, you might feel angry, and that emotion is authentic. But if we yell and throw a fit every time we feel anger–no matter how justifiable the emotion–is that reaction authentic to the type of person and team member we want to be? We may not control what we feel, but we choose how we respond, and there’s nothing inauthentic or fake about choosing an attitude that makes us feel better about ourselves once the feeling passes.

Play: Stay curious and learn who you are 

A huge part of authenticity is feeling like we have the support to share our honest feelings and ideas. A staff that’s scared of speaking up when something’s amiss or sees constant rejection when they present novel ideas are going to inevitably keep those thoughts and ideas to themselves–and studies show this is especially true for women, workers of color, and people from other marginalized groups.

The power of Play is in nurturing this authentic expression. When there’s a problem that needs solving or ideas that need iterating, creating space where nothing is off-limits, no suggestions are thrown out, and everything is received openly and curiously can have a profound impact in encouraging others to speak their minds and bring their authentic selves into the workplace.

Ideas to Reflect On:

  • What does “authenticity” mean to you in the workplace? Do you think your team is being authentic at work?
  • Do you feel your actions align with your values? Is there a way you could behave that feels more authentic to who you want to be and how you want to be perceived?
  • What does your organization do to encourage everyone to bring their authentic selves into the workplace? Is this applied evenly across the board, even towards people with more outside-the-norm ideas and personalities?

Want to Implement FISH! in your organization?

Are you a leader?  Do you train others?  Do you want others to be leaders?

Charthouse Learning, the creator of the world-famous, award-winning, FISH! film is offering an in-person, 2-day workshop, interactive Train-the-Trainer lead by our Senior Trainer.

During our time together you’ll learn how to:

  • Share the motivation and foundation of FISH!
  • Introduce the FISH! film with the four practices.
  • Present the invitation to apply the practices in everyday interaction with others.
  • Build a sustainability and reinforcement program to transform the culture.
  • Pick up tips from other FISH! Philosophers and develop a strategy to embed the practices into the DNA of your culture.
  • Create an energized organization that is the “first choice” for employees, faculty, staff, leaders, and customers.

Plus, you will learn how to create a workplace where people choose to “be and bring” their best self everywhere, every day.

At the FISH! Train the Trainer you will:

  • Dive Deep: Discover The FISH! Philosophy – full of “A-ha!” takeaways and perspective-shifting realizations.
  • Transform: Make the four FISH! practices – Play, Be There, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude – an essential part of your professional and personal skill set.
  • Discover: Learn practical ways to apply the FISH! practices to improve teamwork, service, leadership, retention and performance.
  • Develop: Brainstorm strategies to embed The FISH! Philosophy into the DNA of your culture, strengthening your mission, vision and values.
  • Collaborate: Learn and laugh with like-minded folks from across the globe.

Click Here for More FISH! Train the Trainer Information

FISH! Starter Kit

The first step in a successful FISH! journey is a remarkable introduction. A FISH! Philosophy kickoff event:

  • Inspires people to find the joy they have been missing at work.
  • Teaches four powerful skills you can use immediately for team and personal success.
  • Unites team members to accomplish any goal.
  • Is incredibly fun . . . and people learn more when they have a good time!

The FISH! Starter Kit provides all the tools you need to plan and lead a great kickoff.

Click Here for More FISH! Starter Kit Information

Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and introduce Play into your organization. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

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