The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (and their employees)
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The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (and their employees)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,340 ratings  ·  207 reviews
In this, his sixth and most anticipated fable, New York Times bestselling author Patrick Lencioni takes on his most universal and human topic to date: misery at work. In doing so, Lencioni presents a revolutionary yet simple model for making any job more rewarding and fulfilling.

Lencioni tells the unforgettable story of Brian Bailey, an abruptly retired executive searching...more
Audio CD, 5 pages
Published August 17th 2007 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2007)
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Anna
How I wish I could mail this to almost every boss I've had. The largest part is taken up by a fable which illustrates the ideas of the book, while the second part goes into more detail on how to implement the ideas and what they really mean. The three signs are:

1. Anonymity
2. Irrelevance
3. Immeasurement

1. Anonymity

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 c...more
Kimberly
We are using this book in a leadership team meeting this fall to promote discussion among company leaders about their role in employee satisfaction, and eventually, the bottom line.

This is a quick read -- set up as the "fable" of Brian Bailey - a skilled, natural manager who rises to the top and understands people at all levels. As a young leader, Brian takes a small exercise equipment company from mediocre performance to the top of the industry. However, when he's forced to sell the company, h...more
kingshearte
In his sixth fable, bestselling author Patrick Lencioni takes on a topic that almost everyone can relate to: the causes of a miserable job. Millions of workers, even those who have carefully chosen careers based on true passions and interests, dread going to work, suffering each day as they trudge to jobs that make them cynical, weary, and frustrated. It is a simple fact of business life that any job, from investment banker to dishwasher, can become miserable. Through the story of a CEO turned p...more
Chris
I didn't read this book to find out if I have a miserable job. I read it to find out if the people I supervise have one. This book is clearly written for managers, etc. even though it claims to be useful for other employees. The moral for non-supervisors: try to not work at a miserable job!

This was my first Lencioni book and I was pretty surprised. You could fit the practical content onto about 15 pages or so. The rest of the book is a story, which serves as an extended parable demonstrating the...more
Sharon
The fable behind this book was actually very enjoyable and made it stand out for me from other leadership and management books. I always said you can't teach people to care about their jobs, but this book has me questioning that phrase. I think it is very interesting and really liked reading the examples and practical breakdowns at the end of the book after the fable. I think this book would benefit managers more than employees, because employees might just get frustrated at their inability to c...more
Shelly
Excellent read, pointing out the very simple ways in which managers can make work less miserable for the people who report to them (all the way up to the CEO).
"Whether you're a doctor, a lawyer, a janitor, or a game show host, if you don't get a daily sense of measurable accomplishment, you go home at night wondering if your day was worthwhile."
"People who aren't good at their jobs don't want to be measured, because then they have to be accountable for something."
"Every human being that works h...more
Marian Willeke
Jan 25, 2014 Marian Willeke rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any manager
Shelves: non-fiction, business
Having just taken a position that oversees a team, I knew intrinsic motivation would be key for each of them to experience a successful outcome. As such, I took to heart the recommendation to read this book (among others). While reading is enjoyable for me, I was surprised with my swallowing this book whole within 24 hours, post-it notes being scribbled as I went through, accidentally identifying the first two signs before I knew that that they were the official signposts to turning around miser...more
Bozich.lind
Believe it or not my boss is making me read it.
Sarah
Lencioni recommends that people need to feel like their work is meaningful to someone, they need to have a way to measure whether they are succeeding or not, and they need to feel like more than just cogs in the machinery. The whole book is a fable about managing these three issues so that workers will be happy in their jobs. It seemed a bit thin on material to make a whole novel out of, and it seems a bit obvious. As Lencioni says though, just because it's obvious doesn't mean that it's being a...more
Jimbot
I read this on a recommendation, looking for some nuggets of management wisdom. The type is large, the pages are small, and the chapters are at times half a page, so I plowed through this. Even more, it was written in fairly simple language - not quite Dick and Jane, but I did catch myself checking the tense, because it was so immediate.
After the first third I started wondering where the nuggets were, but I knew it was building on a case-study type story you read in technology certification tes...more
Shaun
Whether you manage a team that is large or small, there are many challenges you'll face as a leader. As I reflect back on the many challenges I have faced supervising and managing teams in contact centers, there are a number of challenges that I couldn't quite put words to until I read 'The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (and their employees)' by Patrick Lenconi (Jossey-Bass, 2007).

'The Three Signs of a Miserable Job' is a leadership fable. The main character of the story...more
Jeanna
To start with, I'm definitely not the intended audience. I'm not a manager. I don't like managing people. I really don't like dealing with business.

(I feel like John Cusack in Say Anything: "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.")...more
Batch Batchelder
Lencioni nails it again - fundamental concepts articulated in very easy to read parable form and followed by a brief conceptual review. Brilliant in its simplicity.

Thesis - work dissatisfaction/misery is rooted in the following three workplace characteristics:

Anonymity
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, gene...more
Robert
According to research conducted by The Gallup organization, only 25% of employees are engaged in their jobs, 55% of them are just going through the motions, and 20% of them are working against their employers' interests. What’s going on? In the Introduction to his latest book, Patrick Lencioni acknowledges what he characterizes as “Sunday Blues [:] those awful feelings of dread and depression that many people get toward the end of their weekend as they contemplate going back to work the next day...more
Sandy
Feb 03, 2010 Sandy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Managers, any employee not happy in his/her job
Recommended to Sandy by: Rob
Shelves: business
I actually really liked this book. After the last book we read as a management team ( Good to Great ), I was a little hesitant to start reading this one. I read another book by this author, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive , and thought it was okay. However, at the time I read that book, I wasn't even a manager, let alone an executive, so I couldn't see how the book related to me other than the discussion on arguing a point and then getting behind the decision, regardless of which...more
Jon
So now that I have powered through six of Lencioni's leadership fables, in some cases twice now, I rate this as his best book by a mile. He seems to be getting better and better with his fables. This was the most interesting and compelling. It is the story of Brian Bailey, who is a semi-retired CEO after his fitness equipment company is acquired, he sets off to enjoy Lake Tahoe to ski and spend time with his wife. After eating at a rather lackluster Italian restaurant, he decides for some odd re...more
Nancy
This is actually a book for managers to help their employees (and themselves) enjoy their work. Basically, the three reasons people are miserable at work are 1) they have no way to quantify their work or measure results; 2) they feel anonymous, like no one has bothered to get to know them; and 3) they don't understand how their work affects others, whether it is customers or co-workers. His main example is a small restaurant in a resort town; the manager makes an effort to get to know something...more
Kami
This book is written for managers. I manage a growing household, so I thought I would see if it applied to my situation. It did!!! It's a fable with helpful information woven into the story. However the end does spell it out with more specific application ideas. It's well written though and didn't feel stuffed down my throat or explained to death, making me feel stupid. Anyway, Lencioni's main points in this book are that everyone needs to feel fulfilled in their work, no matter what kind of wor...more
Michelle
Oct 04, 2007 Michelle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who works
Recommended to Michelle by: Amy
When I received a review copy of “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job” at my office, I was intrigued enough by the title to take it home with me and let it set up shop on my nightstand. That night, as I flipped through and saw that it was written as a fable rather than in a stodgy, “business-y” kind of way, I started reading.
I was quite surprised, a couple of bleary-eyed hours later, to find that I had torn through half of the 272-page book in one night. Yes, that’s right, I tore through a busine...more
Denny
Pertama baca judulnya kukira buku ini akan memprovokasi untuk mencari pekerjaan baru. Soalnya judul kecilnya, a fabel for managers, luput kubaca.

Setelah baca, lumayan menarik. Terutama karena tidak ditulis dengan gaya managemen text book yang membosankan. Caranya bertutur seperti membaca sebuah novel. Mengingatkan aku pada gaya Sophie's World.

Dimulai dengan pertanyaan, "Kenapa ayah-ayah kita, dan kemudian kita, rela meninggalkan rumah bahkan sebelum matahari terbit, pulang ketika matahari itu...more
Justin Stoker
Aug 16, 2008 Justin Stoker rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: job holders with a bummed job & managers
Recommended to Justin by: library
I don't know if I am going to write many reviews. I must say, that this is one of my favorites.

This is a fable written like many other management enriching fables by the same other. The difference is that everybody that has a job can learn from this and learn the secrets to becoming happy in whatever job you have. Although it is written from a manager's point of view both the manager and non-manager can appreciate what this book offers. The story is engaging and simple and follows a simple stor...more
Kari
This was my introduction to Lencioni. I love the way his very easy-to-read books bring business concepts to light. I read this just before I moved cross-country and started a job search, and it was incredibly helpful to have his three questions for job satisfaction in mind as I evaluated each job. More importantly, the questions were helpful in giving me ideas of what to ask potential coworkers in interviews so I could gauge company culture.
Laurie(Time Stand Still)
I'm always quite skeptical when I start books that I might consider to be self help books. This book was given to me when I took my leadership program at work. I picked it up on a day when I was really frustrated with my management and thought I had a point to be made. This book is not about comiserating about how much our jobs stink but why we perceive them as stinking. This book reads like a story and is so common sense on how to turn around a job outlooks it seems too simple. Every manager an...more
Iyad Al Aqel
Just like other Patrick Lencioni works. Its a management lesson put in a fable style that you can live by and relate to characters.
In short the 3 signs of a miserable job are :
1- Anonymity : Are you known for what you do ? Do your managers get personal with you ? Are you just an employee or a number to them ?
2- Impact : How do you feel about the work you produce ? Do you feel its affecting others lives in anyway ? or it just a dull job you have to perform to pay the bills.
3- Measurability : D...more
Denise
The Three Signs of a Miserable Job is good book for anyone wondering why they feel so unmotivated to go to work each morning. This topic is one I think that many people can relate to since I do not believe that I know one person that truly loves where they work. This book is an easy read and the fable gives a good description of the various aspects of Patrick’s model. The book spends some time discussing the effects that being a miserable employee has on the employee’s personal life and on the c...more
Db Wright
This is a great book for any one that manages people. It helps a leader see 3 key points every person should take into account. This was a great page turner. EVERY manager should read. This book was not for me to determine if I dislike my job. I read this to help my staff of people enjoy their work.
Nikki
So this was a huge disappointment because I really liked the author's other book, Five Dysfunctions of a Team. This book did not draw me in and I am not convinced of the three signs. Admittedly there is some validity to being miserable with your job if it comprises of anonymity, immeasurability, and irrelevance. However, the solutions given, to me would not make my job less miserable. In fact, I really did not like the storyline because the protagonist jumped from job to job without me believing...more
Brian Lassiter
Jun 13, 2008 Brian Lassiter rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Managers, anyone trying to become more self-aware
Recommended to Brian by: Sharon
Shelves: non-fiction
A quick and surprisingly entertaining read, it tells the story of a manager's attempt to formulate a system to eliminate (or at least mitigate) employee dissatisfaction in the workplace.

The last 20 or 30 pages lay out the details of the system. The rest of the book is the 'fable' that illustrates the system. I've been told that the book borrows heavily from idea of servant leadership, but being only moderately familiar with those concepts, I don't feel qualified to offer an opinion.

Most of the s...more
Native
This book explains a simple way to look at your job, and learn how to like it. The author takes a different approach to teaching telling a story about a CEO, instead of just explaining the three signs. I personally loved it that way, even though i heard it in audiobook form instead of the actual hard copy.
Quinton
3 signs of a miserable job, which have nothing to do with what it is that you actually do:
Anonymity – If no one knows who you are, or cares, then why would you care about what you do, or how well you do it? Show an interest in your employees. Get to know them.
Irrelevance – What you do has to make a difference to someone’s life . If it doesn’t, then why would you want to keep doing it? Let your employees
Immeasurement – if you can’t measure what it is that you’re doing, how do you know if you’re i...more
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Patrick Lencioni is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, consultant and founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to helping organizations become healthy. Lencioni’s ideas around leadership, teamwork and employee engagement have impacted organizations around the globe. His books have sold nearly three million copies worldwide.

When Lencioni is not writing, he consults to...more
More about Patrick Lencioni...
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