Motivation is a necessary ingredient of success in work. Many people say they would like to accomplish more or be more motivated, but they often do not know how to do this. One important thing missing may be a sense of care and meaning in the work. Research shows that people who don’t care about their jobs show up less consistently, are less productive, are less creative, and have lower work quality.
Although conventional wisdom suggests that pressure and negative feedback motivate people to perform, research shows that happiness and fulfillment are better motivators. Happiness results when workers find their work meaningful, and they achieve progress in meaningful work. The result of this happiness is harder work and greater productivity.
Managers often do not recognize how important meaningful progress is as a motivator. Instead, managers tend to use less effective incentives, such as raises and bonuses, or they may try to use fear or criticism as motivators. Due to budget cuts and other limitations, many workplaces do not try to foster a sense of meaning for employees. This means that employees may have to work harder to find meaning on their own. This can be done by thinking about work in different ways.
Consider the following:
- Think about your own workplace. Are there parts of your job that are meaningful and important to you?
- What do you think you are adding to your workplace? How is your work benefitting others?
- Think about what makes you smile at work. At the end of the day, what makes this a “good day”? How can you add more of these positive things to have more good days?
- Focus on the good parts of your work. There may be many unpleasant aspects of your work. Focusing on the good will help you strengthen your sense of meaning and positive feelings about your work.
- Understand why your work is important. Learn more about the company and how it benefits your community. Work to understand how your role benefits the company as a whole.