Book Review: ‘The Truth About Employee Engagement’ by Lencioni

The Truth About Employee Engagement: About the Book

‘In a sea of generic books on employee engagement and empowerment. Lencioni throws us a life preserver. His book is a masterful tale which I highly recommend to leaders and anyone else trying to build more personal satisfaction in their work’,  Kevin D. Wilde, Vice President, Chief Learning Officer, General Mills, Inc. In this, his sixth book, ‘The Truth About Employee Engagement’, New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni discusses being miserable at work and the 3 root causes. He presents a simple model for making any job more rewarding and fulfilling.

This book was £13.99 and 257 pages. It contains around 85,000 words which would take the average reader about 7.1 hours to read, with 60% comprehension.

Book Cover of The Truth About Employee Engagement by Patrick Lencioni
Focuses on making a job more rewarding and fulfilling


The thrust of what Lencioni is trying to tell us in The Truth About Employee Engagement is simple. It’s more about people management than anything else. Or at least managing people according to some simple principles. And, by doing so, would make the employee more engaged, the line manager feel better about their people management skill, and the company more profitable.

The story is engaging. It follows the period in the life of Brian Bailey. A guy that loved managing people. He was good at it. Though humble to learn. We meet him as he becomes the CEO of a small exercise equipment manufacturer, right through to him managing a badly performing pizza company to going back again to the corporate world.

The Truth About Employee Engagement – The 3 Signs of a Miserable Job

Lencioni identifies 3 things that make people miserable:

  • Anonymity: Do I really know my people?
  • Irrelevance: Do you know who their work impacts and how?
  • Immeasurement: Do they know how to measure their own progress/success?

The author draws these three miseries as a triangle on p.222. He cites them as the main reasons people are unhappy at work. His claims are simple and sound. People cannot be fulfilled if they are not known – Anonymity. If a person cannot see the satisfaction of their work on another person, they will not find lasting fulfilment – Irrelevance. To know how well they are progressing or succeeding an employee needs to be able to use some sort of measure – Immeasurement.

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Final Thoughts

The stories Patrick writes are engaging and The Truth About Employee Engagement is no exception. Bill Bailey’s story is one not to be put down. You get the feeling that whilst you are reading a story you are learning, and in some places, cringing because you’ll know that you have made that mistake.
Our Employee engagement training for factory workers, called P3 is a great example of solving Irrelevance because Feedback is one of the core skills taught. Feedback helps us to know the positive impact we are making. For another client, we are working on how employees fit into the big picture, and this helps to solve Irrelevance.

I thoroughly recommend this book if you are a line manager, HR Manager, or just someone wanting to learn how to improve people’s lives at work.

If you want to learn more about Patrick Lencioni’s other works, read our review of 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

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