Job satisfaction, or the lack of it says a lot about whether or not we are in the right spot - or whether it is time for a change or modification. Certainly there will be periods when we go through tough times - I am not speaking to those periods - but to a more general dissatisfaction that may tell us we need a change.

Many of us love to build something but not maintain it over the long term. If you are wired like that, you need a fresh challenge every so many years. This is OK. It is how you are wired. The challenge is to recognize that you are bored because you need a greater or a new challenge and to either figure out how to do that by refashioning your present job or looking for a new ministry opportunity. Unaddressed, boredom impacts both you and those who work for you or with you because it brings with it an emotional detachment and a lack of happiness.

This may have a different genesis than boredom. Being controlled by a manager is often a sign of an unempowering leader who cannot release people to figure things out in accordance to their wiring. The higher the control factor of a leader the higher the chances that good people will look for a new leader to work for. Empowering leaders are a whole lot more fulfilling to work for because one can use their creativity, skills and wiring to the greatest advantage. If a high control leader is keeping you from flourishing it is time to negotiate a new management style or look for a new position.

This is a situation where we are never sure of the direction of the organization or the expectations of our leader. Where there is ambiguity there is a high level of frustration for good people who want to understand direction, boundaries and expectations. If we know those things we have the ability to work accordingly. If we don't know those things, if there is not clarity on the essentials we work in the dark, never sure if we are doing the right thing or not.  Lack of clarity creates craziness because one does not know what actions will pass muster or please the team or organizational leader.

I spoke recently with a church COO who works for a senior leader who is deeply dysfunctional. The end result is a workplace where there is lack of trust, directional swings, lack of support and where he never knows where he stands with his leader who is easily threatened. This dysfunction has so demoralized, discouraged and disempowered him that after nearly two decades he is moving to a new ministry. Deeply dysfunctional leaders or organizations are almost impossible to work with and maintain any level of joy. They disempower rather than empower.

Sweet Spot
If one is in a job where one cannot spend a minimum of 60% of their time in areas of strength (optimal is 80%) there will be considerable dissatisfaction over the long run. This is especially true as we approach middle age (and after) because we have a pretty good idea of what we are good at and what we are poor  at. Playing to our strengths energizes and engages while playing to weaknesses saps our energy and demotivates us. If one is suffering from a lack of energy or engagement, this is an important issue to examine.

If any of these five signs apply to you, you may want to examine whether you are in the right spot, in the right organization, working for the right leader or how you can modify your role so that the energy, enthusiasm and satisfaction quotients go up again. Where you can, be proactive to get into a place where your work is a joy and not a burden.

If you are a team or organizational leader, watch for signs of restlessness on the part of your staff which may well be indicators of a need for a change. Explore the reasons for their restlessness and work to position them in a place where they will have the greatest job satisfaction and ministry impact. It is a matter of stewardship for them and for the organization.
  • Oct 12, 2012
  • Category: News
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