Fix Job Misery: Get Your Employees Totally Engaged

Does everyone you know love their job? Do most of them? Do you?

Or do you find it hard to climb out of bed when you know you’ll soon be at work?

I’ve noticed over the years that quite a few, perhaps a majority, of people really don’t like the work they do, the place they work, and the manager they report to.

I’ve been lucky since as an entrepreneur, working for myself and running companies I’ve founded or co-founded, I mostly love what I’ve done, and still do. In my early days I did have a short stint working for a VP of a consulting company who rolled in slurring his words and not yet recovered from the evening before…

It always makes me sad to run into someone who hates their job but feels they can’t leave because of the compensation or the benefits or because they’re scared to have to find another job.

One of the reasons I love EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System – a fully integrated way to run your company for exceptional results) and became an EOS Implementer, is that one of its basic principles is building a company composed of 100% of the right people in the right seats. Yup, a company filled with people who love their jobs and the people they work with.

But I’d never seen anything that as simply describes what makes a job miserable and how to fix it as when I recently happened upon a Patrick Lencioni book called The Truth About Employee Engagement. (Before you rush off to buy it check your bookshelves as it was originally published in 2007 as The Three Signs Of A Miserable Job.)

I don’t have the space to fully lay out his wonderfully simple evaluation of the causes of job misery and the equally simple solutions, so I leave it to you to read Lencioni’s book for the details. For now, suffice it to say that he describes the three causes, each with a clear solution.

  • Anonymity: not being known and appreciated for your unique ability
  • Irrelevance: having no idea if your job matters to anyone
  • Immeasurement: having no way to personally measure your level of contribution

Sounds obvious. And yet so many are miserable in their jobs because this is the normal state of affairs.

Think about these three causes of a miserable employee. Now think about the result of employees feeling this way as soon as they wake up and know that work awaits.

Turnover is high and incurs high costs, customers aren’t treated as well as they should be leading to lost sales , employees don’t help each other as they could and should leading to mistakes, poor quality,  horrible morale and a toxic culture.

Now think about the fact that for those of you who manage people, even if it’s only one person, you are the reason your people are miserable. If you want to fix this problem or if you think you’re already working on it but would like to do an even better job, read The Truth About Employee Engagement. The solutions are there. (One thing that amazes me about the book is that its solutions echo what is built into EOS.)

And if you don’t care about this issue, perhaps management is not the job for you.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing to do with Lencioni or this book and receive no benefit from having written this missive. I’m just a true believer doing my best to help you become a better manager, a better leader, a better person.

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