Most people come to work wanting to do a good job. Leaving each day feeling that you have made a difference or accomplished something is a great outcome.
However, in many of our workplaces today, work is complicated. There are many different teams, with many different priorities. Trying to create a team and workplace where everyone goes home with a feeling of job satisfaction is a huge challenge.
Let’s look at some of the most common job satisfaction killers and how we can try to avoid them in our teams.
Common Job Satisfaction Killers and How to Remove Them
1. Unclear Role Definitions
Unclear roles are one of the most common causes of low job satisfaction. Team members who don’t understand what is required of them will be confused.
Job satisfaction is about performing your role well, and gaining a sense of achievement from doing so. If team members don’t understand their roles, it’s impossible for them to know if they’ve hit the target.
To help achieve clearer role definitions, you need to check team members’ job descriptions against tasks they are actually performing. If you don’t have job descriptions, create them and ensure team members understand them.
Next, you need to start helping your team members push back on tasks that aren’t part of their core role.
There will always be times when your team needs to take on ad-hoc work, just to get the job done. But if your team spends more of its time doing someone else’s job than their own, you’ll see low job satisfaction.
Tip: If you or your team struggle to push back and say “No”, Thoughtful Leader can help. I call this “Managing Up”, and you and your team can build the confidence to push back with the Managing Upwards eBook. Try it yourself today.
2. Failing to See Signs of Improvement
Depending on what is happening in your workplace, frustration can be a common occurrence. Most team members will experience frustration at one time or another.
Read more about this topic here: How to Deal With Frustration In the Workplace.
Frustration is often only a temporary condition, caused by an inability to make progress. When you have many different people and teams trying to do their jobs in challenging circumstances, it takes time to fix the problems and get everyone working together.
Job satisfaction can plummet when there are no signs of improvement. Especially when the same problems keep occurring without finding a good solution.
Leaders need to be constantly looking to improve how their teams function, to ensure that people see a positive future. Setting a goal for your team to reach is a good start.
Read more about this topic in this post: 5 Reasons Smart Leaders Keep Chasing Team Improvement.
3. Failing to See How Each Role Contributes to the Bigger Picture
Another key component to job satisfaction is task significance. Task significance is the degree to which a team member can see how their role contributes to the overall work of the organisation, whether it’s a product or a service.
In other words, people can see how they are making a difference. If your team members don’t have visibility of how their jobs contribute, or if their jobs are a random assortment of seemingly meaningless tasks, you have a problem.
Make sure that your team members can see how their role feeds into the bigger picture. A simple way to do this is to complete this sentence:
“My role is important because …”
If you and your team members are struggling to answer this question, this is something you need to work on.
4. Working on Too Many Things At Once
I’ve worked with people who are just happy to get paid. But these aren’t in the majority.
Most people I work with want to get paid (of course), but they also want to make progress. Getting work done is important to people feeling a sense of achievement.
When a team member has too many tasks in progress, quality suffers. Along with this comes a drop in job satisfaction, because people can’t do their best work when they are jumping from one task to another.
This continuous “context switching” between tasks or projects is a big drain on productivity.
To solve this, you need to find the happy medium. This exists where team members are able to focus for a suitable amount of time to get a quality outcome, while also being able to work on a variety of tasks so they don’t become bored.
This is not an easy feat, but part of the solution is to help your team push back on work that can wait, to spend time on the most critical priorities.
Tip: Job satisfaction is a critical part of motivation. If you are struggling to motivate your team, Thoughtful Leader can help. Check out the Motivating Your Team Audiobook, for tools and techniques to get the best out of your team members. Don’t settle for a lazy, disinterested team… try the audiobook today.
How have you improved job satisfaction in your team and what challenges did you have? Tell your stories in the comments below!
Alternatively, if you would like to ask a question or need some help, you can send me a private message through my contact page.
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