The Three Signs of a Miserable Job

Patrick Lencioni is a superb leadership/business writer and speaker.  His typical style is to write a story – a highly readable, relevant, fascinating story – to make his points, and then he might have a few chapters at the end to drill the point in.  This is the approach of Lencioni in this book.

He argues that most people are not fulfilled in their work and that this is a tragedy.  The key issue is not compensation nor is it the number of hours you work.  It lies elsewhere.  The three big problems that make work miserable are:  anonymity, irrelevance and immeasurement.

By anonymity he means anonymity with the people you work with, especially with your boss or coach. It is vital for any manager or supervisor to get to know his direct reports, who they are and what’s going on in their lives.

By irrelevance he means that every employee needs to understand how what they do impacts other people, specifically who they impact, especially fellow employees, and also how their work impacts them.  This must be communicated.

Third, by “immeasurement” (a made-up word) he means that everyone needs a way to measure their own progress.  This measurement needs to be tied to their impact or relevance in some way. The employee should take the lead in deciding what would be appropriate to measure and they should measure it so that they could always know how they are doing, getting some progress report.

I’m a huge Lencioni fan and this book did not disappoint.  It is tremendous.  I highly recommend it.