Over the past few months, I have been involved in several discussions revolving around finding meaning in work. Although it is certainly to the benefit of everyone to find and have meaning in the work we do each day, the debate remains about the responsibility of creating the meaning. Does it lie with each individual or is it a larger responsibility that lands firmly in the purview of managers and supervisors?
The side that calls out to me more strongly is on the managers. Although individuals must take responsibility to embrace the meaning, it seems that the leaders of organizations must be willing to ensure that their systems are set so that meaning and pride can be felt by everyone in the organization. A couple of questions can start our consideration:
Does the organization’s mission, vision, and values truly align to the daily practices that are encouraged and carried out?
Can each individual experience an aspect of empowerment over their own job?
In many workplaces, the opportunity to take personal pride in work is removed by the implementation of arbitrary measurements. It is important that our leaders understand that variation is a natural outcome in many circumstances and a primary role that we need to take on as leaders in our organizations is to coach and ensure that those we work with understand what is required to be successful. People who can find and embrace the meaning in their work are more likely to be engaged and willing to do what is necessary to accomplish their own (hopefully well thought-out) goals and ensure that they acheive the outcomes expected!
The alignment of the individual goals with the organization’s goals – well, that’s a topic for another post!