This edition of Sparked was published and delivered on April 14th, 2023.

Sparked is Fired Up! Culture’s bi-weekly email newsletter focused on what drives culture and engagement in the workplace. This newsletter is for leaders who are ready to get intentional about bringing their team together, building engagement, and harnessing the power of culture to drive results.

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Spark your Team by Highlighting Progress

Making and recognizing meaningful progress in one’s day-to-day work is the most important factor in building engagement and motivation around their work, according to research from Teresa Amabile.

That’s right—when team members feel like they are making headway, accomplishing meaningful goals, and moving forward in a positive direction, their motivation peaks.

As leaders, recognizing the power that progress can deliver is an important way to boost engagement, earn buy-in, and build motivation for the members of your team.

For your Consideration

Have you considered how well you are surfacing progress for those you lead? 

Take some time and reflect on your team as a whole and the individuals you lead.

Collectively for your team:

  • What does team success look like? 
  • Is success clearly defined?
  • How is your team progressing toward its goals?
  • How are you sharing wins as they happen to create positive momentum?

When considering the individuals on your team:

  • What expectations do you have for each of them?
  • Are those expectations clearly defined for each individual?
  • Are those expectations understood by each individual?
  • How are you surfacing their wins and showing them their progress along the way?
Many individuals don’t realize the progress they are making while it’s happening.
It’s common for team members to struggle recognizing the small wins along the way. But recognizing incremental bits of positive progress is where it starts. The big wins don’t happen without many small positive steps forward. Helping your team members recognize and appreciate incremental progress is a productive way to build engagement and buy-in. As they recognize their forward momentum, they’ll lean in further.

Take Action to Spark Motivation

Capturing the power of progress requires leaders to execute the following well:
  • Share your Vision for Success: For an individual or a team, communicate over and over again what success looks like. To identify progress, a team or individual needs to know where they are trying to go. Commonly, this shows up in the form of goals or KPIs. 
  • Provide the Right Resources: To make productive progress, teams and individuals must have the resources and support required to get the job done. Without resources, progress stalls. 
  • Capture Progress: Identify the milestones along the way that show that progress is in fact, being made.
  • Surface the Wins: Communicate, communicate, communicate! And then communicate some more. Find different ways to show those around you that they are moving in the right direction. Remember, many will struggle to do this on their own. As a leader, it’s vital you help show those around you that progress is happening. 

Further Exploration on Progress