Managers can help employees see how their work is contributing. Most important, they can avoid actions that negate its value.
– Teresa Amabile & Steven Kramer
In Part 1, I highlighted the significance of “making progress” in our everyday work if we want to enjoy or encouraged productivity. At the end of the day, we are wired to be emotionally supported and motivated from progress – even a small win. Yes, higher performance is the reward.
Of the many ways to encourage productivity, engagement, and innovation is the “progress principle” according to of Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer in their forthcoming book: The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work from Harvard Business Review Press.
How would you like to see your performance improve? Or that of your team? Then, be sure to make progress in your work…even in a small way, and your reward is emotional and motivational support, improved performance.
Ah, the power of progress!
How to get in the way of things getting done
It comes as no surprise that since we can improve performance by just making progress at work, performance can be hindered.
According to Amabile and Kramer there are four primary ways* managers can drain work of its meaning and thus defeat the work objective.
While stated in terms of manager/employee you may want to consider the implications for self-management, too. To hinder performance be sure to:
- Dismiss the importance of other’s work or ideas
- Destroy their sense of ownership of the work
- Send the message: the work will never see the light of day
- Neglect to communicate unexpected changes in customer priorities
Here’s another way to look at these four ideas…a reality check of sorts:
- Do people believe their contribution matters? How do you know?
- Do you re-assign responsibilities without discussion or take back “delegated” work?
- Do you request input, but neglect to consider it when making the decision?
- Do people understand why changes were made?
Where’s the power?
There is power tied to making progress in meaningful work; even a little progress energizes. Achievement supports improved performance.
Whether you are a manager, business owner, or you apply this to leading your own life, remember …
- Daily progress is powerful and even a small win helps sustain performance
- Support daily progress by providing resources and removing obstacles
- Guard against unintentionally hindering work of it’s meaning
How are you supporting progress in your work?
Please share your comments below.
*Sources: May 2011 Harvard Business Review, The Power of Small Wins, Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer, page 77)