The transformation of work in the twenty-first century is, in many respects, a call for humanity ”a new consciousness that suggests more than simply trying to strike a balance between our work and our personal life. It is a call to honor our own individuality and fully engage our human spirit at work ” wherever that may be. While this idea of empowering workers in body, mind, and spirit is not new, actually putting it to work is new. In some ways, our technological advances have redesigned work to better accommodate human factors. What we need now is a way to elevate the human spirit at work.
The goal of this book is to bring meaning to work and, quite frankly, to do for the phenomenon of work what Frankl as a psychiatrist was able to do for psychotherapy. His unique approach is internationally recognized as a system of humanistic psychotherapy and Frankl himself has been referred to by some as the founder of humanistic medicine and psychiatry . Logotherapy, in short, seeks to make us aware of our freedom of response to all aspects of our destiny. This humanistic view of psychotherapy helps clients to find concrete meaning in their lives. As a therapeutic system, it strengthens trust in the unconditional meaningfulness of life and the dignity of the person. By applying this philosophy to the workplace, we can more deeply humanize our working lives and bring deeper meaning to work itself.
From the perspective of Logotherapy, we can find unconditional meaning in our work/life situations and experience the unconditional value of our colleagues as unique human beings. This is not an easy task but when we celebrate our differences as cheerfully as we celebrate our similarities the result is a powerful synergy at work and in the workplace. Bestselling author Stephen R. Covey, who has also been influenced by Frankl s teachings, has astutely observed that difference is the beginning of synergy. [ 7 ] When business leaders and managers on all levels bring this awareness to work, they are the catalysts for profound changes in the workplace ”changes that enhance everyone s ability to search for and find meaning, on the job, at home, and within our entire human experience.
Unconditional meaning, however, is paralleled by the unconditional value of each and every person. It is that which warrants the indelible quality of the dignity of man. Just as life remains potentially meaningful under any conditions, even those which are most miserable, so too does the value of each and every person stay with him or her. [ 8 ]
[ 7 ] Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989), p. 277.
[ 8 ] Viktor E. Frankl, The Will to Meaning, 1985 lecture, available on tape from Zeig, Tucker & Theisen, Publishers, Phoenix, Arizona, ISBN: 1-932462-08-2; See also Viktor E. Frankl, The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy (New York: Penguin Books, 1988).