Sense of progress 5 of 10: catalysts and toxins


The HBR article about the power of small wins that the previous post linked to is a must-read if you’re a manager; it will still be useful if you like building connections between other jobs and teaching (by the way, I don’t believe in easy transfer of teaching skills to management or vice versa, do you?).

Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer write about their research into what motivates people who do creative and innovative work: it’s the progress principle. On the days when the research subjects made tangible progress, their emotions, motivations and perceptions were much more positive (me thinking out loud: and a student who clearly sees their progress will probably be more satisfied with the lesson even if it was difficult or ‘boring’?).

So, how do we help our teams perform meaningful work? Provide catalysts (clear goals and enough resources to do the actual work well) and nourishers (respect and encouragement which make it possible to exchange ideas and learn) and avoid inhibitors (actions that interfere with work) and toxins (discouragement and conflicts).

Easier said than done? Yes, but once we set the positive feedback loop in motion, it will  hopefully sustain itself, and we’ll just need to keep on clearing obstacles on the way to more progress. Very encouraging!


One thought on “Sense of progress 5 of 10: catalysts and toxins

  1. Pingback: Sense of progress 10 of 10: putting it all together | Kate's Crate

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