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The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (and Their Employees)

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  2,427 Ratings  ·  278 Reviews
A bestselling author and business guru tells how to improve your job satisfaction and performance. 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 e ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published June 3rd 2010 by Jossey-Bass (first published January 1st 2007)
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(showing 1-30)
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Anna
Feb 28, 2011 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Marian Willeke
Jan 24, 2014 Marian Willeke rated it really liked it  ·  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
Kendra
Nov 09, 2016 Kendra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a particularly compelling narrator, but I enjoyed this. Mostly I just wanted an entire novel on the people in the restaurant, but I understand that the book had different goals in mind :D

Definitely some good stuff in here, and practical advice, though occasionally unrealistic approaches.
Andy
Feb 21, 2016 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anonymity, Irrelevance, Immeasurement
Caroline
Jan 15, 2017 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. It's a book on business management principles, but written as a story with fictional characters. Once I got over the fact that it's just a story and not literature, I liked it more. It was easier to read than straight-up theory. Best part is that the message of the book is fundamentally to treat your employees like human beings: know them, remind them how they matter, and help them to figure out how to measure their growth.
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
Sep 22, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bozich.lind
Believe it or not my boss is making me read it.
David Lott
A self-help book for managers and employees. The book uses three identifiable ways to make managers better bosses by helping employees enjoy their job more.

This 250+ page book is written in two parts. The first part is a fictional narrative that follows the life and career of a manager who believes that having people enjoy their job makes a company better. The second part is a text book style analysis of the three steps outlined in the book. I found it kind of odd that the fable part of this boo
...more
Michelle
Oct 04, 2007 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sandy
Jan 27, 2010 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  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 whi ...more
Scott Olsen
Oct 02, 2016 Scott Olsen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent fable that makes some good points. Kind of drug on a bit toward the end. The pizza restaurant made me hungry too.
Immeasurability, Anonymity and Irrelevance
Tony Vynckier
Plagued by Sunday blues ? Dreaded going to work ? Feeling unhappy at work ?

Job misery of employees, the universal problem of job dissatisfaction, has a direct impact on company productivity, revenue and morale.
If your employees feel lousy your company will perform lousy.

What to do to engage, motivate and retain employees so they become eager to go to work each day?
The book ‘The Three Signs of a Miserable Job‘ by Patrick Lencioni is a call to leaders and managers to help their people find job sat
...more
Oliver
Sep 22, 2016 Oliver rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After struggling through a cheesy-lined (akin to Hallmark movies), story with shallow characters, there are basically three things to know. set realistic goals with employees and a way to measure them, make sure employees know what they do matters (effects ppl's lives-relevant), and be interested in employees lives.

"The Three Signs..." lacks research to backup claims of best way to manage employees. It does "make sense," as Lencioni claims, but still begs the question, "is this really all there
...more
Robert
Jul 25, 2008 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kami
Jan 06, 2011 Kami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: informational
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
Shaun
Jun 26, 2012 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Barry Davis
Feb 16, 2016 Barry Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by the author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” this little book in fable form tells the story of Brian Bailey, who successfull worked his way up to presidency of JMJ, a successful manufacturer of fitness equipment. The company is then sold through a business broker friend of his for a tidy profit, allowing him to retire to Colorado at a very young age. Brian quickly loses interest in his new found “freedom,” finding himself intrigued by a poorly run, barely surviving pizza shop, Gen ...more
Jeanna
Aug 18, 2010 Jeanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic
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
Beth Peninger
Jun 30, 2016 Beth Peninger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"A miserable job is not the same as a bad one. As with beauty, the definition of a bad job lies in the eye of the beholder....However, everyone knows what a miserable job is. It's the one you dread going to and can't wait to leave. It's the one that saps your energy even when you are not busy. It's the one that makes you go home at the end of the day with less enthusiasm and more cynicism than you had when you left in the morning." (page 217)
Indeed.
It's unfortunate that so many people are wasti
...more
Chad
Mar 11, 2011 Chad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
The majority of this book is a "fable" about a manager who decides to tackle why employees are miserable at their job (as illustrated in the title...). This section of the book is well written and easy to read. More importantly, the fable part of the book brings the leader along the way on a journey to discover why a group of employees is unhappy at their job and how he turns them around. To me, this method of delivery really helps the reader understand why and what the author believes the three ...more
Jon
Sep 24, 2010 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2010
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
Michael Ryan
Jul 24, 2011 Michael Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third Patrick Lencioni management fable book that I have read, and I liked it the best of the three. I agree with what he says about a job needing to be relevant to making the world a better place. In the software industry it is quite possible to spend most of one's time on products that fail because of changes in the market or changes at the top of the company etc. If you work in IT the chance of someone actually thanking you for your efforts is pretty small.

I once talked to a guy w
...more
Denny
Jan 13, 2008 Denny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Batch Batchelder
Nov 22, 2011 Batch Batchelder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nancy
Oct 12, 2007 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Shelly
Mar 31, 2014 Shelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jimbot
Dec 30, 2012 Jimbot rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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More about Patrick Lencioni...

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“. . . his biggest problem was his need for a problem.” 6 likes
“I believe in the old saying that if you can’t measure something, you can’t improve it.” 0 likes
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