We can probably all recall the big accomplishments of our careers, moments like closing a large deal, finishing a challenging project, getting a promotion. When it comes to employee engagement, however, it’s not just those special achievements that matter.
Routine, smaller, accomplishments that simply let us know we’re doing a job well are even more important. In this article we’ll explore why, and we’ll look at what managers can do to improve engagement by creating a sense of accomplishment.
Self-determination theory (SDT), one of the most important studies into human motivation, explains that feeling competent at a task has a big influence on our motivation to do it. When we feel incompetent or unsure of ourselves, we’re less likely to approach something with enthusiasm.
Ryan and Deci, the psychologists behind the study, found that unexpected positive feedback increases our motivation to complete a task, because it fulfills our need for competence.
How to improve
As a team leader there are several things you can do to boost the motivation of your team by increasing their sense of accomplishment.
Look to maximise positive feedback for each member of your team. If you see someone doing good work, let them know, right then and there – need to wait until your next one-on-one or review meeting. This praise will be even more powerful with a little explanation to show you understand their work.
Think about where feedback comes from for your employees. The nature of some jobs means they provide more feedback than others. Someone customer-facing may often receive thanks for what they do, whereas someone in finance may not. If you’re managing people who tend to receive little feedback, it’s all the more important that you provide it.
Finally, look to strike a balance between routine and new tasks for each member of your team. Routine will enable individuals to build that sense of competency, doing what they already do best, while new tasks are designed to fulfil their need to grow and learn new skills.