American feel cruddy about their jobs.
And that’s not me talking: that’s from the latest Gallup Wellbeing Index, which reports that employees are in a continuing funk.
That’s not good for employers, because workers who don’t care about their jobs are a drag on productivity, not to mention morale.
Plenty of factors need to turn around to perk things up — big, big factors like economic growth. But there’s one thing that bosses can do right away: to get more things done, understand how important it is to workers to get things done.
Harvard business school prof Teresa Amabile operates in the world of everyday work dynamics. I’m a fan of her work because she unlocks big ideas from insights that resonate with all of us. Some of her recent research pivots on the point that productive people find satisfaction in the process of getting stuff done. Bosses who want greater productivity need to actively remove barriers to daily accomplishments. It’s not the flowery praise or the sugary doughnut that prompts top performers to buckle down and get stuff done: they are motivated by the satisfaction of actually seeing the stuff get done.
This insight can help managers who are looking for ways to ensure that lateral moves are meaningful and developmental. Lateral moves are still shaking off the outdated image that moving over is moving aside.
As you are framing a lateral move, consider: what will the person in this new position actually get done? How will this position fuel this person’s innate desire to be productive, and how will he measure his effectiveness? Lateral moves need to deliver their own rewards. Otherwise, your attempt to recast lateral moves as growth will ring hollow.