Slowly Draining Away

There are many programs on team building, coaching, and leadership development.  All of these can be highly beneficial but will suffer if the root cause of employee dissatisfaction or motivation is not identified.  If you have found that your programs have not yielded the success you expected, there may inherent lack of interest or satisfaction in the job itself.  This often results from a failure of leadership.

We are reviewing the research from Amabile and Kramer on the 4 distinct ways that managers unknowingly drain work of its meaning.  They asked 238 creative project team members to keep a diary that revealed ways their managers unwittingly drained their work of its meaning.

The second root cause occurs when a manager removes the employee’s sense of ownership of their work.  This occurs when an employee is reassigned projects, or other team members are added to their current project.  One particular entry summed up the problem:

As I’ve been handing over some projects, I do realize that I don’t like to give them up.  Especially when you have been with them from the start and are nearly to the end.  You lose ownership.  This happens to us way too often. HBR May 2011

Have you looked at consistency for your employee’s projects and duties?  Have there been times when you could have worked with the employee for skill improvement but passed the task off to someone else instead?  What percentage of projects ia staffed from start to finish with the same team?  Examine your track record to see if this root cause might be diminishing your employee’s satisfaction.

We will continue looking at the 4 ways work can lose its meaning, and never fear, we will then learn how to make sure that your employees find that meaning for greater productivity and retention.


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