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Workplace Engagement InsightsLatest Employee Engagement NewsWorkplace EngagementReview of Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Review of Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

This book, first published shortly after the WWII and updated in 1985, represented a revolution in psychological counseling at the time. As a thought piece that will enable the reader to “weave” the thinking from Frankl with the need for the modern organization to create “meaning” in a person’s job,    it becomes a must read for the CEO and her team.

Summary of Man’s Search for Meaning  Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning

Frankl was interned in Auschwitz in WWII and his wife was in Dachau. When he was marched out on the frozen ground, stripped naked (along with several hundred other prisoners), had cold water poured over him, and had every hair shaved off his body, Frankl had a profound thought; as a surgeon and psychiatrist, he believed that the young, strong, and healthy would survive these horrors and the old, frail, or weak would die. Instead, he discovered that there was no correlation in who would survive and who would die.

Frankl interviewed the prisoners and made copious notes of his interviews. He learned that all the survivors shared a common emotional source of strength. They all had something to live for. Or in his words, “meaning in their lives”. For him it was a dream of standing in front of a classroom again and teaching what he was learning, and for being reunited with his wife.

Based upon these findings, Frankl began a whole new form of therapy called logotherapy – “logo” from the Greek word “logos” or “the meaning of”. His practice shunned Freud and others, instead focusing on helping people find the real meaning in their lives as reasons to grab hold of meaning and form a new life.

Applying This to Employee Engagement

We believe that this same need for humans to have meaning in their lives transcends the individual and applies equally to corporations. A collection of individuals need clarity of purpose and a vision to give meaning to their jobs. Thus the formulation of our leadership model of Focus/Will/Capability with the caption: Leadership Is Making Meaning.

>> Want to know how making meaning will help your organization? Contact us today!

If you would like to learn more about Frankl’s work, see the video below from Ted.com for a rare piece of film footage of Frankl lecturing in 1972. 

Written by Dwight Lacey

Dwight Lacey

Dwight is the President at Workplace Engagement Insights. He leads Workplace Engagement Insights with a clear understanding of the latest employee engagement research, survey best practices, and leadership styles that create successful businesses.

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