The third category of events that affect inner work life are nourishers, which are events that support the person doing the work. Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer identify four categories of nourishers in their book “The Progress Principle” (pp. 131-133):
1. Respect: Implicit or explicit expressions of another person’s value. Basic civility signifies respect and incivility disrespect.
2. Encouragement: Help others find the ability to work through challenges, setbacks, and fears to accomplish meaningful goals
3. Emotional Support: Validating emotions, including calming fears and reducing frustrations.
4. Affiliation: Developing bonds of trust, appreciation, support, and cooperation among co-workers.
“The primary way in which nourishers fuel inner work life is by infusing the work with greater meaning” (p. 131). Unfortunately, Amabile and Kramer found that in their research that toxins were overwhelmingly more present than nourishers. They conclude by reflecting on the work of Peter Drucker, and state:
In Drucker’s view, a manager’s job is to serve employees by ensuring that their needs for challenging work and satisfying work lives are fulfilled. Leading by serving does not mean abdicationg responsibility. But it does require a wholly different mind-set toward management – focusing not on traditional control of subordinates, but on contribution to real work progress by the organizations’ members. (p. 155).
Hold yourself accountable for providing nourishment factors to those you work with. If you wait for this to come from top management, you might be waiting a long time. Your everyday words and actions toward those you work with matter and can make a long-term difference in the climate of your organization. Choose to be nourishing rather than toxic.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!