being fulfilled by one’s work

I recently read Bishop Willimon’s blog post on the Patrick Lencioni book Three Signs of a Miserable Job. Though I haven’t read the book, I’ve heard an interview with Lencioni about the book. Based on that, Willimon seems to have summarized it well. And he’s touched on some of my thoughts relating Lencioni’s work to full-time ministry (from having listened to the interview).

If you’re not familiar with it, the three signs are:

  • Anonymity – Fails to meet the need to know the people above me know I exist.
  • Irrelevance – Fails to meet the need to know one’s job matters.
  • Immeasurament – Fails to meet the need to know when and how my job matters, when I’m making a difference, to see tangible progress

It’s certainly a worthwhile post to read if you are in full-time ministry or are active in volunteer ministry (though not your job, you’re putting much of yourself into the work).

On this point, last week my wife and I went to a lunch that our District Superintendent was holding for the persons leaving his district for appointments in other locations. At that lunch, he paused to remember that we don’t take time to say thank you as often as we should and that he hoped the lunch would be a way of doing so. Then he added something to this effect: “We are excited for your new opportunities and blessed for your time among us. What you have done is significant. Thank you.”

Simple as that, two out of three. We knew we were known and that what we do matters to someone in a position to say so. It was affirming. And it was an instructive example. I want to remember how easy it is to meet some of people’s needs to be known, to have their work matter, and to know when they’ve made a difference. It’s as easy as saying so and offering a gesture like a meal or a card to represent it. The challenge seems to be our intentionality to remember and practice it. I pray I’ll do so.

Read Willimon’s post here.

The Patick Lencioni interview is from the Catalyst Podcast, available here. (intro remarks from podcast hosts is at 10 minute mark, the interview itself begins at the 13:45 mark and is roughly 40 minutes in duration)

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4 thoughts on “being fulfilled by one’s work

  1. Great to see others who are fans of Patrick Lencioni !
    I have been reading him for about two years ever since I discovered The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. His writing, though aimed at the business world, has really super charged my actions as a leader, and administrator, a pastor, a friend, a manager, and a boss.

    I believe it would be an incredibly empowering thing if the Texas Annual Conference brought him in to teach the clergy a thing of two.

  2. Hey, look at me, two comments in 1 week. I must not be preaching this Sunday! When I started reading your post I immediately started wondering if the people who work for me feel like what they do matters and if they think I know they exist. For the most part, I am doing well… at least for the paid staff. There are a few volunteers that jumped to mind that could probably use an “atta boy”. Our Staff Parish is currently doing surveys and evaluations to make sure of these points. This sounds like a good book for staff parish to read. thanks Guy.

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