Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Happy Work Place Increases Profits

Managers that tell you-or secretly believe-that employees work better under pressure, uncertainty, unhappiness or fear are just plain wrong!

That's one result of the extensive research undertaken by Theresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, co-authors of The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement and Creativity at Work.

While such bosses believe it's true, Kramer and Amabile found negative inner work life has a negative effect on the four main dimensions of performance: people are less creative, less productive, less sharply committed to their work, and less collegial to each other. That makes the entire inner work life-emotion-darken. And, according to this pair, that will definitely translate into negative work behavior.

What they found to prove that theory is that your inner work life is a rich, multifaceted phenomenon. No matter how brilliant a company's strategy might be, the execution of it depends upon the performance of its people. And inner work life matters deeply to employees.

The authors studied many workers and found creativity is the most important performance dimension. Also, creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality are all higher when the three components of a worker's "inner life" are positive. 

These include: 

Emotions: Overall, the more positive a person's mood on a given day, the more creative thinking he did.

Creativity: This emotion was higher with participants when they had more positive perceptions of their work environment, from highest levels of management to their own jobs. When they saw leaders in a positive light-creativity went up.

Motivation: This third component of inner work life also influences creativity, say the authors. Their studies showed people definitely feel more creative when they driven primarily by such motivators as: interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and the work's challenge.

One example they cite is of a study where one group of participants was shown a five-minute comedy film clip. The other was shown a five-minute clip of a Nazi concentration camp.  Those who saw the comedy film were significantly more likely to solve the problem, demonstrating their contention that positive emotion leads to better creative problem solving. 

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