After physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees claim they experience a sense of meaninglessness pertaining to work and returning to the office. Even prior to the pandemic, in the secular, globalized and capitalist world, people were seeking significance through their work and throughout the workplace. Employees are therefore looking to their leaders to help them navigate the transition. Present leaders are preoccupied with ensuring a renewed sense of commitment throughout organizations, which can best be ensured when there is a coherent relationship between work and meaning. This can best be achieved through logoleadership, the integration of logotherapy and leadership.
Logotherapy aims to help the person find meaning in life. Dr. Viktor Frankl claimed that humans desire to find meaning. If suffering is the result of meaninglessness and loss of purpose, then infusing life with meaning should improve one’s overall quality of life.
Meaning can be found in one of three ways: what one contributes to life, including one’s work, what the world offers and the stand one takes towards an unchangeable fate.
Logoleadership refers to the union of leadership practices with logotherapeutic techniques. A logoleader translates an intersection between organizational goals and those of employees. Meaning can lead to an employee’s psychologically healthy state in three main ways:
- The freedom and will to choose meaning. Leaders can elicit but cannot enforce employee meaning;
- Action that is taken on an individual’s part towards responsibility for fulfilling his/her subjective meaning, through task accomplishment and interactions with others;
- Life meaning is found through adopting attitudes/actions to cope with adversity.
Operationalization of Logoleadership
Logoleadership is operationalized in behaviors, such as attentive communication with each individual employee, listening to their needs and illuminating how the need is congruent with organizational goals. These orientations include but are not limited to career planning, coaching, mentoring and training to ensure the best fit for the individual within the organization. The characteristics of the logoleader include being compassionate, emotionally intelligent and inclined towards grasping macro concepts.
The Multi-Level Model of Logoleadership
Ensuring a work environment with a meaning centric culture in middle-sized and large organization is to introduce a multi-level framework by adding middle-managers as perpetrators of logoleadeship. Through this system, the CEO is responsible for instituting logotherapeutic practices with the middle-management. The middle-management is in turn responsible for reinforcing logoleadership with the supervised employees.
The following interventions are to be implemented at both levels: providing a model of behavior, managing change, framing, triggering, avoiding manipulation and hyperintention.
Mixed-Model of Logoleadership
The alternative solution to maintaining a work environment with a meaning-centric approach is for the CEO to hire an-in house coach who is proficient in logotherapy. The in-house coach would ensure the adequate implementation of the logoleadership loop.
Key Take-Aways for Implementation
- Presenting a model of behavior, managing change, framing and triggering must arise at both levels of the Multi-level Model Of Logoleadership;
- The level of logoleadership of middle-managers should be assessed on a regular basis;
- Middle-managers need to be trained and coached in order to become logoleaders;
- The level of meaning of employees is dynamic and may differ as they age;
- If the CEO of the organization is disinclined towards logoleadership, an in-house coach may be hired to substitute logoleadership practices;
- The Multi-level Model of Logoleadership nor the Mixed Model of Logoleadership cannot resolve an initial lack of job fit.
Overall, there is a definite need for meaning within organizations facilitated by the present conditions of redefining the workplace, technologization and average number of hours spent at work. Amongst several organizational practices that have been found to have a positive influence over employees’ sense of meaning logoleadership, the merger of leadership practices with logotherapeutic techniques appears to have great potential. Logotherapy conceptualized by Dr. Viktor Frankl aims to help the person find meaning and purpose. Meaning instilled through logoleadership is alleged to lead employees to a psychologically healthy state. Logoleadership can be implemented in organizations through a Multi-level Model or Mixed-level Model depending on the executive director and the company’s characteristics.
For a more in-depth discourse on logoleadership please find my paper Logoleadership And Meaning Within Organizations at: http://www.umonarch-mmr.ch/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Monarch-MMR-Journal-Article-Template-February-2020.pdf