Inner Work Life – The Four Nourishers and How They Lead to Progress

The main way nourishers help inner work life is by making the work more meaningful which is am important element of the progress principle.

When we are about the people we work with we want to succeed for them. When our colleagues become a kind of family to us, work can take on new meaning in our lives which inspires us to go the extra mile for the team which results in greater creativity and productivity.

The Four Major Nourishers are:

1. Respect – How Management acts plays a large part in whether employees feel respected or not. Recognition is the most important of these actions. People feel respected when their efforts are acknowledged. Respect is also shown when managers give employees ideas serious attention. Dealing with people honestly also shows respect. And finally basic civility signifies respect.

2. Encouragement – Encouraging people can nourish their inner work lives in a couple of ways. The enthusiasm of leaders can help to improve employee’s motivation, especially when this enthusiasm includes statements about the importance of the work. Second, when management shows they believe that their people can do a good job.

3. Emotional Support – People feel more connected to others at work when their emotions are validated. Managers can help to alleviate the negative and increase the effect of the positive simply by acknowledging. Managers who empathize can have an even more powerful effect on the inner work life of their team.

4. Affiliation – This occurs when team members are able to develop bonds of trust and appreciation with each other. Leaders can help these bonds develop by providing opportunities for people to spend time face to face with their colleagues and finding ways for them to have fun together.

Importantly it’s not enough for you as the leader to give your team nourishment you also need to establish a culture within the group were team members also nourish each other.

Inner Work Life – The Nourishment Factor – The Power of Interpersonal Support

The third major influence on Inner Work life is the Nourishment Factor along with the Progress Principle and the Catalyst Factor.

You nourish a persons inner work life by recognizing good work, providing encouragement or offering emotional support. You might also engage in conflict resolution, facilitate people getting to know each other or simply let them have some fun.

All of these things lead to team members experiencing positive emotions such as joy, pride and happiness. They then become motivated to contribute to something wonderful. Over time the positive inner work life responses lead to superior performance.

Inner Work Life – The Progress Loop

Progress and Inner Work Life feed each other in a virtuous cycle.

The progress loop is a secret weapon of high performance companies; it produces powerful benefits for both managers and employees.

Consistent daily progress by each employee propels the company towards achieving its goals and also improves the quality of inner work life for the employees involved in the progress. Progress feeds growth in the positive inner work life of your employees. Growth in positive inner work life then feeds further progress.

To benefit from this powerful tool you must ensure that consistent forward momentum in work that has meaning to your employees is a regular experience for them.

As a manager you must keep the progress loop in motion by constantly helping employees to progress and remove obstacles in the way of that progress.

Why Belonging is essential to achieve peak performance

Belonging is primal, fundamental to our sense of happiness and well-being.

A sense of social belonging can affect motivation and continued persistence, even on impossible tasks. That is, if you don’t feel like you belong, you are both less motivated and less likely to hang in there in the face of obstacles.

From this it is clear how creating a sense of belonging in your employees can lead to huge improvements in performance that would not have otherwise been possible.

Research conducted by psychologists Geoff MacDonald at the University of Toronto and Mark R. Leary at Duke University found that when we have a sense of belonging, when we feel accepted, welcomed and included, we are more likely to experience positive emotions such as happiness, calm and satisfaction. And, as workers. we are likely to:

  • Be more productive. 
  • Be more helpful to our co-workers without the need for personal gain. 
  • Encourage and support one another. 
  • Work more cooperatively with other teams. 
  • Take fewer sick days or be late to work. 

According to Greg Stewart, Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Iowa, A sense of belonging and attachment to a group of co-workers is a better motivator for some employees than money.

Instilling  a sense of belonging in your employees is essential to both create the best work environment for your employees that you can and also to enable them to excel.

Inner Work Life – How it is influenced

In the book The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer we learn what events impact a employees inner work life both for the better, and the worse.

Three types of events are particularly potent forces for supporting positive inner work life in employees:

  1. Progress – in meaningful work;
  2. Catalysts – events that directly help the progress of the work such as clear goals and autonomy;
  3. Nourishes – Interpersonal events that uplift the people doing the work such as encouragement and demonstrations of respect.
Out of the three the single most powerful is the first, progress in meaningful work.
As a manager you need to know why people come to work every day, what makes them stay and what drives them to perform at their best. The best leaders are able to build a team of employees who have satisfying inner work lives: consistently positive emotions, strong motivation; and favorable perceptions of the organization, their work, and their colleagues.

Inner Work Life – Why it Matters

Inner work life has a huge impact on four major areas of people’s performance at work: creativity, productivity, work commitment and teamwork.

Inner work life should be extremely important to managers because ultimately everything depends on great performance by the people that make up the organization.

Inner work life matters deeply to employees as it is a major factor in their level of overall happiness.

Poor inner work life resulting from stress leads to increases in physical illness and absenteeism while positive inner work life leads to high levels of creativity, productivity, commitment to the work that needs doing and positive, constructive teamwork with colleagues.