Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How to Turn Around Miserable Workers

Is it just me, or are American workers complaining more loudly than ever?

There are the protests by food workers demanding better wages, of course, but even in my local grocery store or doctor's office I hear a lot of complaining by workers.

It's not unusual to hear employees criticizing actions by a managers or bad-mouthing a co-worker. It just goes to show the level of their unhappiness that they would so vocally complain in front of outsiders, I think,

Many years ago I interviewed Patrick Lencioni about his book, "Three Signs of  Miserable Job." He says those signs are:

1. The people you work with don’t know you or care about you.
2. You don’t know how your job matters to others.
3. You can’t assess how you’re doing in your job.

Workers who are miserable are less productive, efficient, and more likely to have physical ailments that affect their professional and personal lives. With the increasing focus on remaining competitive in a global marketplace, Lencioni points out that managers should ask themselves what they can do to guard against workers becoming miserable in their jobs. As part of a self-assessment, he suggests managers ask themselves:

• Do I really know my people? Their interests? How they spend their spare time? Where they are in their lives?
• Do they know who their work impacts, and how?
• Do they know how to assess their own progress or success?

Finally, he says bosses should develop a plan to do a better job of getting to know and understand employees. He suggests one-on-one meetings, team sessions and clearly outlining what is trying to be achieved.

While this seems like a simple concept, Lencioni says that many companies and managers miss the boat. He also has a deeper message to impart to those in charge:

“By helping people find fulfillment in their work, and helping them succeed in whatever they’re doing, a manager can have a profound impact on the emotional, financial, physical, and spiritual health of workers and their families,” he says. “That is nothing short of a gift from God.”

Amen to that.

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