We were going to write a blog that would connect the dots between happy, motivated associates who love their jobs and delighted customers/clients, and then we read the Patrick Lencioni book, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job (it’s an easy read, and we would recommend it to anyone leading a team). In his inimitable way, Lencioni makes a significant point by telling a fable.
He identifies three factors that create job misery: Anonymity, Irrelevance and Immeasurement. To combat the first of these, anonymity, great leaders need to show a genuine interest in their team members by asking themselves: “What is on my team member’s mind? How can I contribute to them becoming a better person?” When we read the comments made by Lencioni, it reminded us of the 12 questions/discoveries highlighted in Marcus Buckingham’s book, First, Break All the Rules, which we have recommended reading in previous blogs. In Buckingham’s book, Question No. 5 asks: Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person? We have been on plant tours with owners who ask very specific questions of machine operators about their spouse or their children by name, and we have noticed that these places always seem to be some of the most profitable businesses. On a similar note, Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs and former U.S. Treasury secretary, tells a story in his book, On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System, about how a senior partner paid special attention to him early in in his career; it is something Paulson credits for the fact that he spent his entire career at Goldman.
What do you know about your immediate team members? What are their special interests? What are their special needs? When is the last time you offered a tip to help make them a more effective and successful associate?