It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress, by feeling a sense of purpose and wanting to maintain our reputation.
Acknowledgement of the work I have done
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work. His work shows us that the simple act of having someone else acknowledge our work gives us much more motivation to produce more – and at a better quality. Even more interesting – it is not the extravagance of the acknowledgement, it is the repetition of it that gives the best results.
Belief that the work I am doing is helping.
Employees who agree that their employer is responsible towards the broader community are 46% more likely to be engaged at work than the employees who disagree. Interestingly, a recent survey of employers showed that just over 85% of them they felt that accurately portrayed their companies’ value to the community to their staff, whilst less than 65% of employees agreed.
Am I going to be watched or judged?
Another way of saying this is “how will my reputation be judged by society?”.
Research has shown that our behaviour does change significantly depending on whether we think we are being watched (and judged).
A recent experiment by students at the School of Biology and Psychology in Newcastle asked participants to pay whatever they felt was reasonable for any milk that they consumed in an office canteen over a period of 20 weeks.
The only change was that, each week the room’s walls alternated from being covered in pictures of flowers to pictures of people’s eyes. As you can guess, the $ paid per litre consumed was higher when the room was surrounded by eyes.
What was even more interesting was that, when the eyes looked afraid, the money went up even higher!
..and lastly “People work far harder to avoid losing something that they will to gain it.”
Behavioural psychologists are all in agreement of that one I am afraid.
However, far more of us would be happier to do nothing just to maintain the status quo.
So how do you get the most out of your team?
I’d love to hear from you.