As I mentioned in an earlier post this week, the college where I work has chosen How Full is Your Bucket? as a college-wide read with the intention of combining the wisdom of the text (i.e. fill people’s buckets) with the understanding of individual’s strengths based on the StrengthsFinder personality quiz. Everyone at the college was given the book to read along with an access code to complete the online StrengthsFinder quiz.
The book relies on the (perhaps overly) simple metaphor of a bucket. Each person has a bucket, and throughout the day, their interactions with other people either add to their bucket (good) or dip from their bucket (bad).
The metaphor arose based on a study conducted by his grandfather, Don Clifton, who found that “our lives are shaped by our interactions with others”; these interactions are either positive or negative and it is the accumulation of all the interactions that “profoundly affect our lives”. I don’t disagree with this. I think that negative interaction after negative interaction can quite drastically shift a positive person’s mood and outlook. And I think the reverse is true as well.
Actually, I agreed with most of what was in the book. I’m just not sure I learned anything new. The strategies Rath and Clifton detail seem intuitive and obvious. While I appreciate the sentiment of it, the book was less critical and research-focused than I would have liked. There are definitely specific, practical pieces of advice for improving morale but nothing too surprising.
Still, it’s a short, easy read and maybe there are quite a few managers, bosses, authority figures who could use a reminder of how to maintain a positive work environment. Plus, who doesn’t like personality quizzes?