A Leadership Moment: The Miserable Job
Day in and day out, people go to work; their home away from home, and are resigned to put in their time until they can go home, just to do it all over again. This isn’t just the life of hourly employees punching a clock, it also can be the life of a professional that works with or for a leader that manages by fear, is insecure, and is lacking genuine concern for the people in their organization.
Leaders that hold information close to the vest discourage action by their team, which causes people to hesitate and become stagnant in their jobs. It becomes worse if there are no shared values to make decisions and execute from. It truly causes a type of organizational paralysis and then the insecure leader blames the people that try support him, because now they are hesitant to move without his beckoning, which causes him to wonder why nothing of significance gets done without his involvement. The once, effective professionals, begin to viewed as less than effective, because the insecure person that they are working with sabotages, discourages action and wants to have final decision on everything. The insecure leader consistently looks like a white knight that saves the day, but in fact, he is only saving the day from the dysfunction that he caused. There is no minimizing the damage that insecure leadership can have on the organizational health of a company.
Recently, I’ve invested some time reading The Three Signs of a Miserable job, by Patrick Lencioni. In this great fable-style book, Lencioni shares what it takes for leaders to help team members connect on a deeper level than just a paycheck.
The three signs are:
• 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 that their job matters, to someone. Anyone. Without seeing a connection between the work and the satisfaction of another person or group of people, a team member simply will not find lasting fulfillment.
• Immeasurement – People need to 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.
Essentially, Lencioni is saying that people need to belong to something, need to stand for something and need to be connected to something. People derive meaning from what they do and who they associate with and if they feel like what they do doesn’t matter or those that they associate with do not care, misery will be present. This is great news for leaders that are passionate about adding value to their people and business. Some of the most impactful people are teachers, coaches and pastors. Why? They stretch and challenge us. They help us connect to something bigger and show that we matter. They provide standards and measurement to gauge progress. And through it all, they drive us to be a better version of ourselves.
Ultimately, everything rises and falls on leadership. Leaders play a critical role in the organizational health of their company and their team. It’s hard work and requires intentional effort. Consequently, if leaders invest the time to understand and appreciate people on an individual level, help build a connection and provide a meaningful gauge for their level of contribution, they will be on the way to developing a significant competitive advantage. Work hard, do great things and have fun! Take care, Jake