Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hot one: Bosses do not make work meaningful

Some researchers at the University of Sussex and University of Greenwich (England) found that the quality of leadership is almost never mentioned when people are questioned about meaningful moments at work.

BUT--poor management can destroy meaningfulness very easily.

The study, in the MIT Sloan Management Review, suggested meaningfulness at work tended to be personal and individual. Usually employees recognized it by reflecting later, not by thinking, Wow, that guy really gets me going.

The researchers interviewed 135 people working in 10 different occupations from priests to garbage collectors. They asked about when they had found work meaningful and the times they asked themselves, "What's the point?"

Meaning was found as they reached out as a person--not an employee.

Five qualities of meaningful work:

--Self-transcendent. This means the work matters to others, not just themselves.

--Poignant. Meaning often comes when the feelings are mixed--comfortable and even painful thoughts with joy and happiness.

--Episodic. Meaningful or not meaningful both come and go and are not sustained.

--Reflective. Meaning is glimpsed later, as I said.

--Personal. Meaning is understood to come in the context of oveeall life, not just the working hours,

What can inject meaninglessness? Disconnecting people from their values, overriding people's better judgment, and disconnecting people from supporting relationships.

That bosses can and often do.

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