Stark, Raving Mad?

Deprived of meaningful work, men and women lose their reason for existence; they go stark, raving mad.            Fyodor Dostoevsky

Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer examine how to truly engage your workers in research published in Harvard Business Review.  However, I often find it interesting to first take examine the negative.  In our next few blogs we will do a mini-series on the ways you just might be driving your employees stark, raving mad.  Then we will take a look at how to assist your employees in finding significant meaning in their work.

Within their research on motivation, Amabile and Kramer asked 238 creative project team members to keep a diary.  Through looking at the entries they found 4 distinct ways that managers unknowingly drain work of its meaning.  These may seem obvious to you, or not.  But the findings were consistent and these managers may just be like yours who, like all of us still have a thing or two to learn.

Managers dismiss their employees’ work or ideas.  One worker was a senior lab tech who enjoyed solving the new product line technical problems with his team.  However, for a 3-week period he distinctly felt that his manager was ignoring his ideas and contributions.  He noticeably withdrew and his spirits sank.  At the end of that period his mood noticeably improved when he again felt like he was making significant contributions.  I felt much better at today’s team meeting.  I felt that my opinions and information were important to the project and that we have made some progress.

Have you asked your employees for feedback on their perceived participation and success?  You might be surprised at what you hear.



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