Great article in the May edition of Harvard Business Review.
"Inner work life: understanding the subtext of business performance" by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer.
What makes for a great day or a lousy day at the office? "We found that the single most important differentiator was a sense of being able to make progess in their work," the authors say about the employees they studied in their research project. "Achieving a goal, accomplishing a task, or solving a problem often evoked great pleasure and sometimes elation. Even making good progress toward such goals could elicit the same reaction."
Not surprisingly, managers contribute to good days when they enable progress and manage with a human touch. Say thanks. Celebrate a job well done. Remind employees that the organization is lucky ot have them.
"Far and away, the best boosts to inner work life were episodes in which people knew they had done good work and managers appropriately recognized that work."