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Logotherapy in the workplace.

logotherapy in work

There is much potential for the philosophy, theory and therapy of logotherapy in work. It can enhance, compliment and enable a meaningful workplace. That is, a work environment that knows how to identify and experience meaningful moments by leading to win the hearts of its workforce. When you win the heart you have built trust and when you build trust you lift morale (spiritual, mental, material), gain ‘will’ and where there’s a will there’s a way, irrespective of country, division, department or role. It’s called logotherapeutic leadership and here is a sample of the potential in High Tech.

This type of leadership is optimistic about the past, realistic about the present and activistic about the future. In terms of what this means in the workplace today, I understand that there is not an abundance of economic and social resources, that in some cases can lead to assumptions contributing to the challenges.

I see the top four leadership challenges as follows:

1. Non-Zero sum conflict. This has to be greater than the amount of conflict that exists today, that is  zero sum.

2. Shared goals. Strategies based on the assumption of shared goals, when important goals are not shared are of limited use.

3. Power Inequalities. Solutions are required to neutralize the effects of inequalities of power among individuals.

4. Assumptions about work. Assumptions about individuals, without comparable assumptions about the nature of their environment, do not provide a sound basis for effective action.

As Hobbes pointed out centuries ago “the war of each against all” was a problem. Today, without adequate analysis of the nature of realities – the multiple realities that exist within the mini cultures within your culture, in which people and teams have to function, the optimism and actual striving for a higher level of human motivation and meaning will remain a challenge.

Logotherapeutic leadership varies depending on whether you are forming and leading a functional team of direct reports or a cross functional team of indirect reports. However, there are ten learning experiences that are common to both that you maybe interested in thinking about.

They are how to:

  1. Gain access to character traits that build morale, ‘careless trust’ and credibility – the key stone to developing and using influence? Morales foundations being spiritual, mental and material.
  2. Forget yourself, go beyond your self to gain commitment not compliance from your team?
  3. Sacrafice something of real value to gain honor and respect from your colleagues?
  4. Explore self – transcendence for leadership competency?
  5. Understand three survival techniques for loss of identity, fear of fear and stings of conscience?
  6. Use tools in ‘how’ to make decisions, the optimal use of others in the process and the manner in which to do this?
  7. Explore the business context in terms of logotherapeutic communication, shared goals and reasons, styles and the bottom line?
  8. Identify how your values and beliefs lead on to forming your assumptions that cause you to act in enabling or inhibiting ways?
  9. Become free from the conditions, structure and culture of your work environment without leaving your job?
  10. Develop ‘moral courage’ to meet the demands of power inequality and zero-sum conflict, reality.

Talks on the life and times of Viktor Frankl & Logotherapy can be tailored to your organization or institution. This is one that was created and delivered for the Irish Jewish Museum in July 2016.

I also offer learning and development programs in:

  1. How to gain the fullest possible control over yourself.
  2. How to design effective experiences for others.
  3. How to create perspectives & see potential that leads to attitudinal change.

What matters in human to human (H2H) development in the workplace is what we bring to work as a personality, as a human being, which gives us our particular role. Seen in this light, it is what makes each person indispensible, irreplaceable, singular and unique.

Logotherapys central affirmatives

  • Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
  • Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life and livelihood.
  • We have freedom to find meaning in how we think, in what we do, in what we experience, and even when we are faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.
  • We are mind, body and a human dimension. These dimensions are interdependent. The key is the human dimension, the noetic core and only this core, warrants and constitutes oneness and wholeness; it enables us to exercise our will to meaning, to envisage our goals and to move beyond our instinctual needs and self actualization, to self-transcendence.

As we emerge from the recession some people feel they have enough to live by, but not enough to live for, while others feel they have a lot to live for but not enough to live by. This may account for the phenomenon of, despair despite success and fulfillment despite failure.

Further areas for consideration in your organization:

  1. When people bring ‘themselves’ to work it has to be based on commitment rather than compliance. The difference is in their attitude and wanting to do the work as opposed to not wanting to do it, but having to. A committed workforce is an engaged workforce, aligned, cohesive and purposeful.
  2. What is behind attitudinal change and where does the capacity reside within us?
  3. How do our instincts – traditions – values – responsibility contribute to our ‘natural’ response to loss and gain in the workplace and therefore our attitude to change?
  4. Do we understand the potential damage done to people (particularly in recent years) in terms of pressure, and potential bullying and organisational abuse? It is well documented. People must realize that every structure and culture determines how they behave, however they are not subject to those conditions, rather those conditions are subject to their decisions.
  5. What really is our motivation in life and livelihood & how does it impact our decision making?
  6. Do we directly intend job satisfaction, happiness, wealth & power?
  7. What is the existential vacuum and how may it be contributing to a sense of apathy or boredom in the workplace?
  8. The increasing cost of absenteeism and workplace litigation cannot be underestimated. This points to how people are dealing with perceived determinants in the work place and holds potential for reorientation, when people can’t find meaning in mundane or challenging tasks, activities or circumstances.
  9. Understanding a geometrical concept of dimensions, as an analogy for qualitative differences which do not destroy the unity of a structure, may hold the key to unlock personal power, that can lead to greater levels of efficiency, productivity and fulfillment.
  10. What is moral courage as opposed to physical courage and when is it required?
  11. To whom, for what and why are we responsible as leaders to build morale and exercise our freedom and freedom in others?
  12. How does ‘cause and effect’ impact on our mind set compared to ‘cause and reasons, reasons and meanings’ and what part do creative, experiential and attitudinal values have to play in the shaping of corporate culture?
  13. Are we really conditioned and determined by our role and how can we feel free under the constraints of this finite limitation?
  14. Why is it natural to resist self discipline and what examples show that it can lead to freedom without responsibility, whereby self interest becomes the end, not freedom with responsibility, whereby self interest becomes self transcendence as the means?
  15. The challenging circumstances mentioned above can be too much for some to bear. With the heightened awareness of stress, illness, injury and suicide, directly or indirectly related to the workplace, employers need to be aware that they could be held accountable (morally & financially) for suicide linked to bullying at their organization. Evidence from national and international research shows Ireland has a significant problem with both bullying and suicide and that these issues are frequently linked, with 25% of suicides believed to arise from workplace bullying. The total direct cost of bullying in Ireland and of bullying related suicides is estimated at €1.5 billion per annum[1]. Research shows that current approaches to managing bullying and suicide in the workplace are ineffective and that a revised health & safety approach must reflect current evidence for effective practice.
  16. As the economy and employment prospects improve, the competitive advantage of a broader view of “Employee Care” directly influences recruitment, talent management, engagement and retention. Caring requires a multi dimensional approach that should be starting with the person at the center of the process.
  17. Are we ‘leading’ based on belief in our colleagues, their search for meaning, reasons and values, or are we leading based on theory X, self interest, lack of care and control as a primary source of power?
  18. What are the essentials of business logotherapeutic leadership needed to create a motivating environment?
  19. What is D = S-M and how can it help in preventing poor performance?
  20. Is balance really the goal in livelihood & life, or creating healthy tension between colleagues for greater responsibility?

[1] 1,306,091,088 (economic cost of workplace bullying) + 229,457,652 (economic cost of suicide) = 1,535,548,740.  Our calculations for the cost of suicide take the lower 2002 cost of €835,662,917 and divide it by the number of suicides in that year to arrive at a cost per suicide of €1,748, 248.80 per suicide. Using estimates that 25% of suicides arise from workplace bullying, this figure is multiplied by a quarter of the number of recorded suicides in the latest official suicides statistics, a total of 131 people. The result is an estimated cost of +€229 million in 2011. To compensate for the possible overstatement of the percentage of suicides related to workplace bullying we have used the costs calculated for 2002 without adjustment for inflation. We note that the official suicide statistics for countries such as Ireland are estimated by the World Health Organization to be 30% lower than the true numbers of suicides.

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