Fear can energize behavior and accelerate performance – military basic training, merit scholarships, regular paychecks to feed your family; these all serve as motivators that involve certain levels of fear that impact our behavior. At the same time we know that fear does not inspire loyalty, excellence, or satisfaction. Harvard Business Review spotlights the The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work.
Early in their 14+ years of research Amabile and Kramer found that a fundamental driver of creative, productive performance is that employee’s inner work life. This combination of motivations, emotions and perceptions that color how positively they see their organization, co-workers, managers, work, and even themselves greatly impacts their level of achievement.
They asked 26 project teams from seven companies to reply to a daily survey that focused on their emotions and moods, motivation levels, work perceptions as well as the work they accomplished and significant events of the day. 238 individuals and almost 12,000 entries revealed that people are more creative and productive when their inner work life is positive; when they are happy with their work, colleagues, and the organization itself. Further, when employees have this positive inner work life they are more committed to their work and more affable towards their colleagues.
Of course you probably already knew that. However, there are predictable triggers that most people respond to that, when considered and acted upon by management can become a tool to maximize employee engagement and satisfaction.
The first trigger is progress. On participants’ best days the most common event was any progress in their work – either individually or by the team. On the worst days the most common event was a setback.
You may have already known that too, but as we continue in our series we will look at how to provide the catalysts for progress and remove the obstacles with a new managerial perspective.