I recently read The Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni. Those who enjoy business fables in the spirit of The One Minute Manager or Fish will enjoy this story, although at 259 pages, it is considerable longer.

In the book, we follow Brian, a retired business executive. Brian buys into a struggling mom-and-pop restaurant and strives to improve the business by improving the morale of the workers. Through his journey, Brian reveals three factors that spell a miserable job:

Immeasurability–“A job is bound to be miserable if it doesn’t involve measurement.” (p.128) The lesson is that if one has no way to gauge whether or not he/she is doing a good job and whether or not progress is being made, there can be little joy in the job.

Irrelevance–“Every human being that works has to know that what they do matters to another human being.” (p.133)

Anonymity–“How can a person feel good about going to work where they don’t feel anybody there knows who they are? Or cares?” (p. 140)

    I found the book to be an enjoyable story that should cause any manager to think about how the morale of employees impacts thee effectiveness, and hence, the effectiveness of the organization.