Three Signs of a Miserable Job: Anonymity

I recently read Patrick Lencioni’s book “Three Signs of a Miserable Job”. A brilliant overview of how leaders in an organization can foster an environment where people love what they do for a living. In Patrick’s model, there are three key areas that contribute to overall job satisfaction: Anonymity, Irrelevance and Immeasurement.

In this post, I will discuss Anonymity, its importance and what leaders can do to make their people feel cared about at work.

According to Lencioni, “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. People who see themselves as invisible, generic or anonymous cannot love their jobs, no matter what they are doing.”

As a leader, I have seen the value of really knowing my people cause great results. The simple act of acknowledging that they have a life outside the confines of the office creates a relationship between leader and employee that transcends the latest project or office politics. My team wants to perform better because they feel a bond to me as their leader that is substantial and personal. Think about it: do you perform better when you want to do something for someone or when you have to do something for someone? It’s a no-brainer. When I ask my team to do the impossible in a very short time frame (which is too often), they do so willingly, and it fills me with pride to see them step up.

So, how do you really get to know your people and remove the barrier of anonymity in your workplace? It’s easy. All you have to do is care. You need to treat your team as talented contributors as opposed to simply resources for getting things done. When you ask about their weekend, have a genuine interest in their response. If they have children, understand that their kids are more important to them than anything that happens in the office. If they are just starting off in life, be willing to sit down with them and walk through the steps of buying a house, refinancing a mortgage or setting up their 401(k).

Simple actions like this humanize the workplace and create an environment where everyone feels better about spending their time together striving for a common goal. You can’t fake this stuff. You can’t go through the motions and not genuinely care about your people. This can’t be a means to an end. It has to be real, heartfelt and tangible. If you have to fake it, your team will see through your actions and create a distrust of you, your sincerity and your integrity.

To close, a former boss of mine said something that is relevant to the dismantling of anonymity in the workplace: “Treat your people like volunteers, and they will move mountains for you. Treat them like employees, and you’ll never know what they are able to accomplish.”

If you have any thoughts or comments on ways to remove anonymity on your team, let us know by leaving comments. Through the sharing of information and ideas, we all benefit.

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One Response to “Three Signs of a Miserable Job: Anonymity”

  1. Three Signs of a Miserable Job: Irrelevance « HinuBlog Says:

    […] Signs of a Miserable Job: Irrelevance In an earlier post, I introduced the concept of Anonymity as it relates to job misery. This time around, I would like […]

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