In my last blog, I discussed the Progress Principle, which theorizes that the more frequently people experience a sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run. So how exactly do you inspire progress and help employees recognize milestones along the way?
Amabile and Kramer focused on what managers should NOT do, so let’s focus on what you should and how it can spur others to continue onwards.
- Encourage ideas. If you foster judgement or fear of outright rejection, employees are unlikely to provide you with pivotal project updates that may stall progress if not addressed immediately. So ask open ended questions on a regular basis to get the needed updates.
- Instill a sense of ownership. Employees should see how their contribution has carried the project through to the end. As a leader, help your team see the organizational vision and how their work aligns with that vision. The more they make the connection of their work to the vision, the more engaged they’ll be.
- Provide a sense of stability. Work and priorities may shift often, especially with fickle clients, rendering hard work useless. Or at least it may seem that way. Don’t discount work that you must leave behind. Acknowledge what was accomplished and find ways, if possible, to integrate it into another project.
- Communicate clearly and honestly. Everyone needs to be on the same page. If priorities shift, employees need to be the first to know. Their work is valuable and so is their time, so value them by communicating both the good and the bad news in a timely manner.
- Discard the inclination to finger-point and blame. Instead, identify the root cause of the problem and create a plan for change.
- Avoid micromanaging. Instead of being a resource to help support employees work, managers often dictate the how instead of the why (and provide no room for autonomy). Trust your employees! They know what they’re doing – that’s why you hired them.
How have you inspired progress with your team? Leave a comment and let me know!