A couple months ago we recommended First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. Now we’d like to recommend the follow-up, 12, The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter. In the first book, the authors developed the 12 elements of job satisfaction — a group of carefully constructed questions for your employees. The answers to these questions will give you considerable insight into the overall satisfaction of your staff. Where the first book covered a greater swath of information, this book focuses on the 12 elements uncovered in the first book.
“Behind each of these is a fundamental truth about human nature on the job. The correlations between each element and better performance not only draw a roadmap to superior managing; they also reveal fascinating insights in how the human mind — molded by thousands of years of foraging, hunting, and cooperating within a close-knit and stable tribe — reacts in a relatively new, artificial world of cubicles, project timelines, corporate ambiguity, and constantly changing workgroup membership.”
Wagner and Harter do an excellent job of explaining each of the 12 elements in detail. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the elements, along with a real world example to provide context. And keep in mind, this isn’t just theory. These guys work for Gallup, and are utilizing the research from millions of employee and manager interviews to drive their results. The conclusions are based on measurable performance statistics.
If you manage people, and would like to improve your managing skills, I highly recommend reading both of these books. Understanding employee satisfaction is a key element to a successful business.