Office workers are more likely to be happy in their jobs if they are able to make progress in meaningful work, it has been claimed.
Writing for the Washington Post, Teresa Amabile, professor and director of research at Harvard Business School, and Steven Kramer, a developmental psychologist and researcher, highlighted some of the major risks to employee morale.
The experts, who co-authored ‘The Progress Principle’ said that without the necessary levels of support from managers, employees often become frustrated and demotivated by their job.
If the situation deteriorates further, they may find themselves “brimming with disdain” for their boss and organisation, they warned.
“People want to make a valuable contribution, and feel great when they make progress toward doing so,” the authors said.
“Knowing this progress principle is the first step to knowing how to destroy an employee’s work life. Many leaders, from team managers to chief executives, are already surprisingly expert at smothering employee engagement.”
Prof Amabile and Mr Kramer said employee setbacks often contribute to a loss of morale, which can quickly darken the mood around serviced office space.
Setbacks are any instances where employees feel stalled in their most important work or unable to make any meaningful contribution, they explained.
“One of the most effective examples we saw was a head of product development, who routinely moved people on and off projects like chess pieces in a game for which only he had the rules,” the researchers said.
They added that blocking progress by providing conflicting goals is another way managers can damage the morale of their workers.
Some managers change them frequently, and allow people no autonomy in meeting them, the co-authors stated.
“If you get this formula just right, the destructive effects on motivation and performance can be truly dramatic,” they quipped.