Why Manage Better?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quality professionals and Happiness at Work

As always, Paul Borwaski came up with an interesting topic for discussion this month. Are Quality Professionals happy on the job?  This is a question that psychologists and researchers would love to address. I don’t have such skills and don’t even want to try a research based approach to this question. However, what I do have is some observation and conversation skills. That’s what I did and here are some key points I noted, in no order or priority.

  1. Happiness is a complicated topic and this complication applies to people in the quality profession the same way as it does to others. We have no reason to believe we are either blessed or disadvantaged. I find almost the same proportion of people happy (or unhappy) in quality as I find in others.
  2. Quality professionals appear to be happy when they are involved in improvement projects and their inputs are valued and appreciated. I have come to realize that a quality professional generally is more emotional than the ones in sales and operations. We need more and frequent appreciation than our friends in sales in operations. When this does not happen we are unhappy.
  3. There are a large number of quality professionals who joined the profession because they thought this is the most comfortable job they can get. Such people generally remain happy because they want to do so little that they will never be disappointed. This group is ruining the profession and I find this population increasing.
  4. Quality professionals struggle and compete for credit with operations. This competition often results in Operations seeking and getting all credit for improvement. Quality professionals find this unfair and results in them being unhappy. 

What could we do raise the voice of quality at work and be happier. Remain connected to business and don’t underestimate our importance. Improvement is a joint effort. Get involved early and be proactive in raising issues. Management needs and respects a watchdog.

Most importantly, find happiness at home as well.