Servant Leadership Workplace-Meaning

3 Things that Make the Workplace Meaningful

Servant leadership increases three things in the workplace: meaning, joy and prosperity.*

Indeed, I would say servant-leaders are “meaning-driven.” The ones I know are motivated by things they find to be important at a deep, personal level. Servant-leaders are able to see – and share with their followers – what lies beyond the superficial.

That’s what meaning is: something we find beneath the surface of any given situation.

Take work.

We get up, go to the office, sit down, read emails, attend meetings, accomplish tasks and write emails. Then we go home. A paycheck comes.

For many people, that’s pretty much it. Superficial. There isn’t much deeper. So there isn’t much meaning in work like that.

Which, if we agree with Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky, can be pretty miserable. Dostoyevsky said:

“Deprived of meaningful work, men and women lose their reason for existence.”

But work doesn’t have to be miserable. It can hold great meaning.

Here are 3 things that make the workplace meaningful.

  1. Belonging to a community. Human beings derive great meaning from group membership. The best places to work for that I know – the servant-leader organizations – provide a sense of belonging. They foster a sense of community, sometimes even a feeling of family. You feel good to be part of the company. If you’ve ever worn clothing bearing your company logo on a weekend (I have), then you know what I mean.
  1. Contributing to a mission. My father died of cancer several years ago. My sister has a personal mission to end cancer. She works at a company that shares her mission and supports it organizationally. This is a source of meaning to my sister – something she receives at work above and beyond her paycheck. (My sister doesn’t work for the American Cancer Society, as you might have guessed, but rather, her employer is a leading financial services firm.)
  1. Growing as a person. In my view, the deadest type of dead-end job is one in which all personal growth has stopped. You stop being challenged. You stop learning. You stop improving. I hope you never have a job like that. It can be meaningless. On the other hand, opportunities for personal and professional development can make a workplace meaningful apart from the community and mission elements mentioned above. I hope you have a job that provides such opportunities.

Smart companies know that meaning is part of the compensation they offer to their employees.

Which is why smart companies value servant leadership

What do you think? Do you agree? What other ways do workplaces provide meaning?

Let us know.


As always, we appreciate your views.


* See what you think of this post: “Want More Meaning, Joy and Prosperity?”