Discover Your Inner Work Life

  • 3 mins read

Have you ever examined your own inner work life? In the work I do corporate coaching, some have good self-awareness of their perceptions, emotions and motivations. Some don’t. Emotional intelligence is something that is developed in coaching relationships and through leadership coaching.
Management responsibilities can take a toll on day-by-day perceptions, emotions and motivations. Most managers are both superiors and subordinates, sandwiched in between different personalities, often with limited power.
Recognizing small wins is the best way to motivate your team – the key principle revealed through rigorous analysis of daily journal entries by Amabile and Kramer in The Progress Principle.
Every day events affect our inner work lives, and managers are certainly not exempt. As a leader, you must tend to your staff’s inner work lives by providing support each day. You, too, will perform best when your inner work life is positive and strong.
You can do what the team members did for The Progress Principle research study to improve your ability to recognize and harness your perceptions, motivations, and emotions to your advantage. You can keep a daily journal.
As used for the study, it only takes five to ten minutes at the end of each day to review significant events. In my previous post A Progress Checklist, I shared questions you can ask to review your day.
A regular review of your day’s events can help you sustain good inner work life or improve bad inner work life for yourself. James Pennebaker, a psychologist at the University of Texas, is a pioneer in research on the benefits of writing in a journal.
Be sure to use the Daily Progress Checklist to review the day’s events and how much you’ve accomplished – no matter how difficult or disappointing. Even if gains seem relatively miniscule, you’ll benefit from an honest assessment. Remember: Setbacks are inevitable, but they serve as learning opportunities.
Progress triggers a positive inner work life. To boost yours, focus on providing your people with catalysts and nourishers. Buffer them, as much as possible, from inhibitors and toxins. This sets the stage for progress in your managerial work, as well as a positive progress loop.

Inner Work Life
Did I see any indications of the quality of my subordinates’ inner work lives today?
Perceptions of the work, team, management, firm?
What specific events might have affected inner work life today?

Action Plan
What can I do tomorrow to strengthen the catalysts and nourishers identified and provide ones that are lacking? What can I do tomorrow to start eliminating the inhibitors and toxins identified?

Source: T. Amabile & S. Kramer, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work (Harvard Business Press, 2011)

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