I just finished reading Patrick Lencioni’s book on job satisfaction, The three signs of a miserable job: A fable for managers (and their employees). It is a fast read and offers great insights on how to be a better manager, as well as how to find a job you truly enjoy. Like his other books, the first two-thirds of the book is written as a parable, where Lencioni weaves his principles into a creative, fascinating, believable story. The last third is a review and explanation of the principles.
Lencioni’s principles reminded me of Frederick Herzberg’s two factor theory of job satisfaction. Herzberg’s view was that people are motivated by six different “Motivators”–achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, promotion, and growth–and that people are demotivated by eight “Hygiene factors”–pay and benefits, company policy and administration, relationships with coworkers, physical environment, supervision, status, job security, and salary.
What Lencioni has done is to boil those 14 items down to three which he says contributes to a miserable job–anonymity, irrelevance, and immeasurement. Anonymity is the aspect that if people are not known for who they are, they will never be fulfilled. “People who see themselves as invisible, generic, or anonymous cannot love their jobs.” Irrelevance is the idea that “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, an employee simply will not find lasting fulfillment.” Immeasurement is the concept that “employees need to be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution for themselves. . . Without a tangible means for assessing success or failure, motivation eventually deteriorates as people see themselves as unable to control their own fate.”
I found the book very helpful and thought provoking. It prompted me to think how I view my own satisfaction as a pastor, as well as how I can encourage the staff of our church.