Patrick Lencioni has a gift for taking complex problems, boiling them down to their critical components and then providing viable solutions in easy-to-read fable format. His latest work, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, is another excellent example of his talent in action.
I'll admit that I was a bit apprehensive about this one. Everyone has aspects of their job they don't enjoy, but do you really want to read a book about why those things make you miserable, especially if you feel they can't be changed? Having read The Three Signs, I can honestly say the answer to this question is yes, you should. Read it if you're a manager so that you can consider Lencioni's advice for your employees. But regardless of whether or not you're a manager, read it and see if you can encourage your manager to read it; maybe you could even leave it on his/her chair anonymously after you've read it yourself...
Here are some of my favorite excerpts from this fantastic book:
Too often, (companies) are slow to recognize that they have an employee satisfaction issue, and then when they finally do, their attempts to address it focus on the wrong issues.
(Regarding exit interviews...) The problem, of course, is that departing employees rarely tell the whole story. By the time people decide to leave an organization, they have little incentive to tell their soon-to-be-former employer the truth -- that they are leaving because their supervisor didn't really manage them, and without a good manager, their jobs eventually become miserable.
Even in those instances when executives are able to discern that poor management is the real source of employee dissatisfaction, their response, though well-intentioned, is rarely effective. That response usually takes the form of more management training, which often includes mandatory classes...
And so I suppose that the real shame is not that more people aren't working in positions of service to others, but that so many managers haven't yet realized that they already are.
This book has given me much to think about in my own role as both employee and manager. Now it's up to me to figure out how to implement Lencioni's advice to improve the situation on both fronts.