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Inside the Mind at Work – What Really Motivates Us?

Question for Discussion – How important is managing for progress?

The topics of performance evaluations and feedback come up quite often in my executive coaching sessions. It’s human nature that people want to know where they stand.

I often suggest to my coaching clients that in-the-moment feedback based on progress helps motivate people. It can also help avoid those tense performance evaluation meetings where people can be demoralized and become disengaged by negative performance feedback.

What Really Motivates Us?

If you lead knowledge workers, you likely employ these conventional management practices:

  • Recruit the best talent.
  • Provide appropriate incentives.
  • Give stretch assignments to develop talent.
  • Use emotional intelligence to connect with each individual.
  • Review performance carefully.

Unfortunately, you may miss the most fundamental source of leverage: managing for progress. Recognizing even the smallest win has a more powerful impact than virtually anything else.

In a survey by Amabile and Kramer, 669 managers ranked five factors that could influence motivation and emotions at work:

1. Recognition

2. Incentives

3. Interpersonal support

4. Clear goals

5. Support for making progress in the work

Managers incorrectly ranked “support for making progress” dead last, with most citing “recognition for good work” as the most important motivator.

Your ability to focus on progress is paramount. Video-game designers excel at this mission, hooking players on the steady pace of progress bars.

Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their high performance leadership development program. Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help managers manage for progress. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

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