Managers need to pay attention to the little things they do

Any manager worth his or her salt usually wants to see high levels of motivation, creativity and performance from the workers he or she is in charge of, but oftentimes it’s the little things managers do or don’t do that prevent this. 

Here’s a synopsis of Teresa M. Amabile’s research as revealed by interviewer Mike Roberts:

• Executives often place too much emphasis on strategy and lose sight of their people.

• Everyone with normal human capacities is capable of doing creative work—not just “geniuses”—if they have the right work environment.

Amabile says that there are three main things to keep in mind when managing people:

• People have incredibly rich daily inner work lives—meaning that emotions, motivations and perceptions permeate their daily work experience.

• People’s feelings powerfully affect their daily work performance.

• Those feelings, the ones that are so important in terms of daily work performance, are powerfully influenced by daily events. 

The lesson: People’s moods are highly indicative of whether they will perform well and exercise creativity at work. Workers in good moods seem to lead to more flexible and original thinking.

If you’re thinking that this is just a lot of baloney and you want something concrete to do, Amabile says to try these tactics

• Give workers emotional support.

• Monitor workers in a positive way (giving positive feedback). 

• Recognize workers publicly.

• Consult respectfully with workers about what should be done. 

• Collaborate—that means you roll up your sleeves and get busy doing exactly the same things your workers do.

Things to avoid:

• Over- or under-specification of assignments.

• Negatively monitoring a situation (that means avoid checking in too often or not often enough and holding back any unconstructive feedback).

• Too little problem solving, or worse, you actually create more problems for your workers.

Invest in yourself!!!

Take action and enjoy the rewards.

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