+44 (0)1322 286826 | info@ebwonline.com

What is the most cost effective way to improve work performance?

Page 1 of 22

Have you noticed when you get most of your work done?

Is it when you enjoy what you are doing, or when you are obligated to do so?

A recent research study has shown how these two sources of motivation, i.e. enjoyment versus obligation, translate directly to performance in the workplace.

Researcher Laura Graves and her three colleagues asked 357 managers who attended a 5-day leadership training program to participate in the study on motivation.

The participants were assessed on how much they enjoyed their work and how driven they were to do it, what their level of satisfaction is in their career and how much strain they were experiencing at that time. Another measure had their work performance rated by people who knew them in their organisation.

From the data gathered, Graves and her team found out that, as predicted, people who rated their enjoyment higher were also better performers, experienced more satisfaction in their career and had less psychological strain in the workplace.

However, those who rated themselves lower in the enjoyment measure and higher in the "driven to work” didn’t necessarily falter in performance.

In fact, being driven to work seemed to produce better performance too, even when they experienced no enjoyment in their work.

Together with performance, however, the level of psychological strain was also higher.

The results of the study imply that, yes, even if a job is boring and monotonous, a worker can be productive if there’s a strong obligation to finish the job.

However, it comes at a cost—the worker’s psychological well-being—and it is therefore, not sustainable in the long run.

The study reinforces what good managers and team leaders have known for some time: if you want your workers to be more productive, keep them intrinsically motivated to do the job.

Workers who enjoy their work are not only productive, they also last longer in the organisation. They will take ownership of their outputs and will personally find satisfaction in a job well done.

The EBW View

Good team leaders must then ensure that their members are intrinsically motivated in their work, even if the job is routinary. As Dale Carnegie said, "People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”

Keeping leaders and teams happy is not expensive and is easy to do if you get them to use their Emotional Intelligence to understand what motivates the people they work with.

So how do you keep your staff happy and productive? The EBW team suggests some cost effective simple ideas:

  • Acknowledge their accomplishments. There’s nothing like positive reinforcement to keep people happy and striving for more. Don’t just praise major accomplishments either; show appreciation for even small ones, like finishing a project earlier than usual, or having a customer give positive feedback.

  • Have a regular brainstorming session. Even just 10 minutes of brainstorming once a week can make workers feel valued. You can also use this venue to get to know each team member better by having each share their work or a skill they can teach others.

  • Improve how your workplace looks. Colour and furniture do matter especially when it comes to affecting peoples' moods. Dark-coloured walls and sagging furniture don’t do much to raise employees’ morale. Even something as simple as repainting the walls with a brighter colour can do wonders.

  • And finally, be positive, smile, no matter how difficult you may find the people you work with.

Recruiting leaders/manager who can keep their team members happy and motivated is not easy. It takes Emotional Intelligence to be able to appreciate and bring out the best in other people. Fortunately, Emotional Intelligence can be recruited for or developed, you just have to know how and have the right tools to support you.


Click the button: Partner with EBW to use Business EQ Assessments, Tools and Programmes to improve your business

Find out about becoming an authorised EBW Partner


The EBW Global Emotional Intelligence System is a unique assessment and development tool for Managers, Executive Coaches, HR experts and Psychologists.

Based on over 20 years of worldwide use and research, it enables you to get leaders and teams to understand why they behave the way they do and use a highly effective 10 step framework to improve their occupational performance.

With a practitioner's network based on 6 continents, all of whom are licensed to use the EBW System, we guarantee the EBW Emotional Intelligence approach empowers leaders and teams to transform themselves and their organisations. 


The EBW is the EQ tool of choice for many world-leading companies, including: