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The Three Signs of a Miserable Job

I recently finished reading Patrick Lencioni's book, “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job”, and I recommend that everyone read it, and no, it's not about what you might think.  I am consistently amazed that seemingly simple concepts come across as revolutionary.  I think it's a good thing because books like this one are encouraging a generation of leaders instead of bosses.  It doesn't take much to make yourself and your employees happy, which in turn makes everyone work better and improves the lives of the customers and the profitability of the business.

Who Should Read It?

The book is appropriate for everybody because it's concepts can be viewed from multiple angles.  Are you a leader?  The concepts here will help you, help your employees.  What is extra awesome is that EVERYONE should look at themselves through this lens and ask hard questions.  Find out what might be holding you back and what you can do yourself to help get back on track.

The Three Signs…Dear Boss, I Quit: Unhappy Employee Message

The book begins with a story and then has an "executive summary" at the end.  I highly recommend not skipping the story.  By framing the concepts with a story, it puts them in proper context and gives the reader the chance to "see" them in action.  The three signs are Anonymity, Irrelevance, and Immeasurement (yes that last one is a made-up word but as Lencioni points out it fits). 

Anonymity is all about feeling like just another cog in the wheel.  Nobody expects you to know every last detail about a person, but there is a big difference when talking to someone and not just knowing that Joe's daughter likes ballet, but that she had a recital on Saturday.  Simple conversations and genuine interest go a long way to squash feelings of anonymity.

Irrelevance is the feeling that what you do doesn't matter.  What you do should make a difference to someone else, even if that someone is your manager.  If you are making that person's life easier, you are being awesome, now we just have to get him or her to express that.

Immeasurement is referring to how to measure success at a job and the seeming fact that most of the time the wrong things are being measured.  These things should be easy to track, meaningful, and within the control of the person being measured.  If an individual is feeling like any one of these is happening, job happiness goes down, and in turn so does productivity.

Next Steps

As a manager being able to identify these signs, or better yet prevent them, will go a long way to improving overall company culture.  As an individual, being able to put your feelings/concerns into these buckets will help point you in the right direction to improving your situation.  I'm not going to spoil anything because I think everyone should read this, but one of the statements that hit home with me was that management is the full time job.  What he means by that in context is that a lot of management focus on numbers and reports first and people second.  It needs to be the other way around.

Keep your people uplifted and the numbers will work themselves out.


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