The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work

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Harvard Business Press, Jul 19, 2011 - Business & Economics - 256 pages
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What really sets the best managers above the rest? It’s their power to build a cadre of employees who have great inner work lives—consistently positive emotions; strong motivation; and favorable perceptions of the organization, their work, and their colleagues. The worst managers undermine inner work life, often unwittingly.

As Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer explain in The Progress Principle, seemingly mundane workday events can make or break employees’ inner work lives. But it’s forward momentum in meaningful work—progress—that creates the best inner work lives. Through rigorous analysis of nearly 12,000 diary entries provided by 238 employees in 7 companies, the authors explain how managers can foster progress and enhance inner work life every day.

The book shows how to remove obstacles to progress, including meaningless tasks and toxic relationships. It also explains how to activate two forces that enable progress: (1) catalysts—events that directly facilitate project work, such as clear goals and autonomy—and (2) nourishers—interpersonal events that uplift workers, including encouragement and demonstrations of respect and collegiality.

Brimming with honest examples from the companies studied, The Progress Principle equips aspiring and seasoned leaders alike with the insights they need to maximize their people’s performance.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Scenes from the Organizational Trenches
11
2 The Dynamics of Inner Work Life
27
3 The Inner Work Life Effect How Inner Work Life Drives Performance
43
4 Discovering the Progress Principle
67
5 The Progress Principle The Power of Meaningful Accomplishment
87
6 The Catalyst Factor The Power of Project Support
101
7 The Nourishment Factor The Power of Interpersonal Support
129
8 At the End of the Day
157
9 Tending Your Own Inner Work Life
183
Appendix About the Research
193
Notes
223
Index
247
Acknowledgments
255
About the Authors
259
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About the author (2011)

Teresa Amabile is a professor of Business Administration and a Director of Research at Harvard Business School. The author of numerous articles and books, including Creativity in Context, she has long studied creativity, motivation, and performance in the workplace. Steven Kramer is a developmental psychologist and has co-authored a number of articles in leading management periodicals, including Harvard Business Review and the Academy of Management Journal.

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