Measure Your Personal Impact in Your Work

Do you feel like you are making a difference through your work?


People who don't feel relevant in their lives cannot love their work. Patrick Lencioni, founder and president of The Table Group, says that we all need to know that we make an impact in someone else's life in some way—large or small. It is the leader's responsibility to ensure that people see the connection between the work that they do and the impact that is made because of it.

Watch the video to learn more about how to tell your employees they are making an impact.

Let's talk about the second sign of a miserable job. A friend of mine I know went to work for a health care company that was revolutionizing health care in America and he was in information systems and technologist. His job was to build systems that were going to revolutionize health care.

He was interested in this, bringing more health care to people who could afford it or do it more efficiently, so more people could. He went to work there, he was all fired up, and after not too long on that job, he was feeling pretty depressed. And he said, "You know, Pat, my manager never mentions hospitals, doctors, or patients in any meeting we have. Never talks about it." And he says, "I might as well work in car dealership, which there's nothing wrong with a car. But he said he went into this because he was passionate about health care and yet his boss never talked about health care.

You see the next sign of a miserable job is this thing we call irrelevance. People that don't feel relevant in their lives can't love their work. What does relevance mean? It means you have to know that you make a difference in someone else's life in some way large or small.

Sometimes I think their managers don't remind them because they think it's so obvious. They're like, "Well, they know." They're like that husband whose wife says "Why don't you ever tell me you love me?" And he says, "Well, I told you when we got married I'll let you know if it changes." It's like, well, the first day of orientation we talked about how important it was to be a teacher. We as managers have to constantly remind people and help them make that connection to how they influence people's lives in large or small ways.

How many nurses do you think at the end of every shift the nursing manager comes over and says, "Hey, before we leave and I give you your schedule, let's talk about some stories about how you made a difference in someone's life in an unexpected way, a family member or a patient"? After a while, they're changing bedpans and rushing Jell-O in and getting their schedule for the next day.

We as leaders have to have the courage to do those simple things and to constantly remind people about the difference they make.

There was this one doctor who worked in the ER department that everyone loved working for. When they came to work and saw that he was on-call, they said this is going to be awesome. They loved coming to work with this guy. Well, she explained why everybody loved working with him so much.

One day in the ER there was a new doctor coming in who was kind of being mentored by the new, he was being, he was kind of oriented to, so he was following around this new doctor. So they had different people coming in, difficult situations. A woman came in and she was bleeding a lot and after they stabilized her, somebody came in and cleaned the room up to make it clean so they could get another person in.

And after a long night of doing all of this, Nancy was filling out her charts as nurses do at the end of their shift and she was listening in on this conversation between this awesome doctor and this new one. And she said that the doctor was going over all of the different things that went on and then he said to the guy. He said, "Hey, did you notice the guy who came in and cleaned the room after that woman and made a mess?" And the guy said, "No." He said, "His name is Carlos. He cleans these rooms better than anybody and faster. He's great. His wife is Maria. Here's their story. Here's where they're from and here's when they came to this country. They have three kids and these are their names. Here's what their kids are doing in their lives." And then he said, "I want you to get to know Carlos and tell me something about him that I don't know." And Nancy said she just got the chills. She said that's the first time she saw how much a leader can have such a profound impact on somebody by knowing them that well.

Do you think Carlos likes coming to work more for that guy? Do you think Carlos has a greater sense of commitment and a greater sense of his own worth? That story just makes me want to go out and do that.

Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni is founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to providing organizations with ideas, products and services that improve teamwork, clarity and employee engagement.

Patrick’s passion for organiz...

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