Three signs of a miserable job

Dec. 13, 2007
Patrick Lencioni believes that the way employees are treated at work can have a large societal impact.

“Fulfilled employees treat their families, neighbors, and communities better at the end of the work day,” says the CEO of the Table Group and author of The Three Signs of a Miserable Job.

“No one is immune to job misery — it touches every profession imaginable from restaurant service worker, to middle manager, to NBA superstar,” says Lencioni. A recent USA Today poll found that the number of people unhappy with their jobs is at an all time high. Lencioni offers a practical solution for managers to end job misery.

The book follows a fictional character, Brian Bailey, a retired CEO who sets out to discover the X factor in high-achieving organizations. What Brian learns is that a fulfilled workforce, with low turnover and high job satisfaction, is the key.

The three signs may appear simple at first glance, but often managers simply aren’t giving people what they need to succeed, Lencioni contends. He urges managers to address the following three areas with employees:

Anonymity
People cannot be fulfilled in their work if they are not known. All human beings need to be understood and appreciated for their unique qualities by someone in a position of authority.

Irrelevance
Everyone needs to know their job matters to someone. Anyone. Without seeing a connection between the work and the satisfaction of another person or group of people, an employee simply will not find lasting fulfillment.

Immeasurement
Employees must be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution for themselves. They cannot be fulfilled in their work if their success depends on the opinions or whims of another person.

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