One of the biggest motivational theories in business is “authenticity.” After centuries of simply hiring people to complete tasks, organizations are now inviting candidates to bring more of themselves—their personalities, emotions, humor, style—to the workplace.
What’s driving this trend? Studies show the more you can be yourself at work, the higher your satisfaction, level of engagement, staff morale, and job performance. And let’s not forget that when your team feels empowered to be themselves, this will also enhance their customer service skills, as most people like being served by individuals who are genuine and relaxed, not scripted.
Empowering authenticity is not always easy. Half of the respondents in a Deloitte study reported “covering” part of their identity to fit in at work. Professionals of color, women, and LGBT workers were most wary of “being themselves” and more concerned with following unwritten rules about appearance and behavior.
If your team starts to feel they must wear a mask to fit in with your organization, it can damage their spirit, enthusiasm, and even physical health. And the employer will suffer, too. As author David Whyte says, “the part of ourselves we leave in the car when we go into the office each morning is often the most passionate, courageous and deepest part of ourselves.”
Using FISH!, you can help create a positive workplace environment that embraces authentic conversations and activities that build better staff morale and improve customer service.
How to Boost Staff Morale with FISH!
Staff Motivation Tip #1: Be There
When people think of being authentic, they think of sharing who they are. For every person who shares, there must be at least one who listens. Be There is about genuinely paying attention to people and responding when they need you.
- How This Works: Sharing personal stories builds familiarity, but being there builds trust. It starts when one person reaches out to another. It may be listening empathetically or offering encouragement. It may mean lending a hand when they are feeling overwhelmed. Being there is one of the most powerful ways to show who you are. That’s how strong relationships are built.
Staff Motivation Tip #2: Make Their Day
Authentic leaders are confident and honest, willing to admit they don’t know all the answers. They make it a habit to ask people for opinions and ideas. Besides providing the team with more ideas, it makes people feel valued and fuels their enthusiasm. It also is a great way to Make Their Day.
- How This Works: The most authentic workplaces of the future will be the most diverse. That includes gender, race, age, and culture, but it also means varied thought and perspectives. When people from different backgrounds come together, it often results in radically new solutions (the kind that don’t come from people who think alike). As you build a diverse workforce, find diverse ways to recognize people for the unique contributions they make to help the team or a customer.
Staff Motivation Tip #3: Choose Your Attitude
When you’re feeling angry or stressed, it may feel “authentic” to lose your temper, yell or put people down. People often justify their behavior by saying, “That’s just me!”
But is it? Johnny Yokoyama, the owner of Pike Place Fish Market, was an overbearing, intimidating, often angry boss. He got that way, he told us, because “That’s how my father raised me.” Johnny realized his actions were hurting his business, his employees and himself. That wasn’t who he wanted to be, so he decided to change.
- How This Works: Real authenticity requires self-awareness. It means knowing who you want to be, what your values are, how you express yourself, and how that impacts others. Feedback—from colleagues and from those you lead—is essential. They see you in ways you cannot see yourself. When you’re used to reacting in certain ways, these observations can feel like a threat to your identity. The best way to improve your leadership and people skills while improving staff morale is to Choose Your Attitude and accept feedback with gratitude.
Staff Motivation Tip #4: Play
Sometimes “staying true” to yourself is an excuse for sticking with what you know. But our identities evolve throughout the many stages of our lives. Life is about learning and growing, and it demands change. To be the best version of you, you must be willing to stretch yourself, learn new skills, and try new effective styles of working with and relating to people.
- How This Works: It takes a playful mindset, and a little courage, to experiment with new ways of “being you”. Use feedback to decide where to start. Set realistic goals. If you’re most comfortable talking, listen more. Ask people you trust to let you know how you’re doing. Be comfortable with failing sometimes. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself. Learning is the best way to find the “real” you.
Cultivate a Better Business Culture with FISH!
Looking for more ways to increase staff morale in an organization? FISH! has the solutions for you. We’ll help you build a better culture that focuses on authenticity, accountability, and servant leadership to help you boost staff morale, engage a passionate workforce, and improve customer service, along the way.
We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions to help kickstart your program and nurture your organizational culture from the ground up.