Leadership that makes sense
People strive to be able to tell their lives as a coherent story: As a narrative with desirable goals in the future and a past that gives strength through the good we look back on, but also the crises we have grown from.
When integration of the past and anticipation of the future make a coherent whole in today, people say: That makes sense.
A lack of a sense of work can maneuver us into inner emigration.
Sense Foundation is a leadership task:
Managers have the authority to influence the tasks and immediate experience of direct reports. Through the quality of their leadership work and their values, they can have a massive influence on the sense of purpose experienced by their employees as well as on other factors critical to success.
Leadership behaviors that influence the experience of meaning:
Claritiy – clarifying the goals of the action
Authenticity – Behaving authentically in the leadership role
Respect – treating employees with respect
Mattering – outlining to employees how their work contributes to the success of the overall system.
Autonomy – Delegating as many decisions as possible to employees
These building blocks are supplemented by the manager’s desire to individualize an employee’s area of responsibility so that the work comes as close as possible to his or her motives and strengths.
Those who experience themselves as self-efficacious in the context of their task, who have the impression of making a contribution to the greater whole, who identify with the values of the organization, who feel that they are coming closer to their own essence in their work, benefit from an increased level of work sense.
The KAARMA study by Dr. Rose and Prof. Steger shows what a strong effect leadership has on the experience of employees: Employees of above-average leaders have a significantly higher sense of purpose, flow experience, sense of pride and sense of satisfaction. Only in the area of engagement does it not play such a high role in comparison – people only let bad leadership rob them of their motivation to some extent.
Source: Dr. Nico Rose, Prof. Dr. Michael F. Steger: “Führung, die Sinn macht. Managers need good charma” from Organizational Development, Issue 4 /17; Journal for Corporate Development and Change Management.