The best leaders create an environment for people to do their best work. This means helping employees navigate what’s unclear, providing context about what needs to happen, and showing a path forward about why the work matters. But you can’t do that as a leader if you’re on the phone with clients all the time, buried in your email inbox, or running around to business development meetings all day.
When employees make headway toward a significant goal, overcome obstacles in a reasonable timeframe, and feel supported in their work, their motivation is the strongest. When they feel their wheels are spinning, run into preventable roadblocks, or notice the end-goal is constantly changing, their motivation wanes.
Research shows that employee motivation boils down to one thing: Progress. A 2010 study published in Harvard Business Review describes how making progress on meaningful work is the number one indicator of employee engagement.