Happiness at work

The Power of Small Wins

Inner work life

Teresa Amabile, professor at Harvard University, researches the psychology of every day work life. Her main question is how daily simple events in the work environment influence “inner work life” and performance. Your inner work life can be described as your hidden emotions, perceptions and motivations that you experience during the work day. This inner work life can be inflated or deflated by your manager, your colleagues, and other processes…

Progress principle

During her research about this inner work life, she discovered something called the “progress principle“. But before we explain what this is, we ask you to think of what you would call a bad day at work. Why do you see it as a bad day? Is it possible it had something to do with having a setback, feeling like moving backward instead of moving forward? Because that is what professor Amabile is talking about: of all everyday events (actions of managers, coworkers, technology…), the most important one that improves your inner work life, is the event in which you are making progress in meaningful work! Or, as she likes to call it: a “small win”.

Take-away message

So, what’s the take-away message here? Amabile asked managers what they think employees consider important to improve inner work life. Shockingly, only 5% made “making progress” number one. So, as an HR manager, as team leader, as director… Make it a habit to help your employees experience a small win over the work day when they’re having a difficult time! You will see how powerful those small wins can be!

Watch her inspiring TED Talk HERE!

Watch 5-Step Habit Creation Video

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