The Progress Principle

Teresa Amabile

Creativity, Productivity, and the Psychology of Everyday Work Life

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Diary #1: The ChampionJuly 30, 2011

In order to stimulate a conversation about the progress principle, inner work life, and events that influence inner work life, we will regularly feature a vignette from the lives of people in organizations – a story that we think is both interesting and informative. Initially, we will use examples from the diaries written by participants in our research (thoroughly disguised), but in the future we hope to include stories submitted by our readers. Please join the conversation with your insights and reactions as you read these posts.

In our opening diary, we look at a great team leader. The progress principle implies that the most important thing leaders can do to enhance the inner work lives of their workers is to support them in their work. Such support is seldom dramatic or exotic, but it is critical to helping the team make progress. Often it involves just dealing with problems when they occur or preventing them from becoming more serious problems. Here, Dave learned that support for his team’s project was in jeopardy.