Last Updated Dec 18, 2009 2:47 PM EST
Have you tried progress?
"On days when workers have the sense they're making headway in their jobs, or when they receive support that helps them overcome obstacles, their emotions are most positive and their drive to succeed is at its peak. On days when they feel they are spinning their wheels or encountering roadblocks to meaningful accomplishment, their moods and motivation are lowest."Those words come from Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile and co-author Steven Kramer in a new HBR article, What Really Motivates Workers (excerpt).
If you ask managers themselves about motivation techniques, you'll get a short list that includes recognition, clear goals and interpersonal support. All are good motivators, surely. But not as good as giving workers the sense they are making headway, conquering obstacles and getting ever so closer to the finish line, according to the researchers.
The single biggest thing managers can do to up the progress quotient, according to the authors, is "scrupulously avoid impeding progress by changing goals autocratically, being indecisive, and holding up resources."
Managers must also refrain from exerting too much time pressure. When people feel they are working under the gun, any little setback is perceived as a crisis instead of a learning opportunity. Setbacks stop progress. A lack of progress demotivates employees.
The takeaway: set your employees up to succeed.
Does your level of work satisfaction rise as your progress increases?