Why Meaning Has More Impact Than Money


24 May 2015

As leaders, it’s no secret that passion, talent and the right circumstances have helped get us into the roles and positions where we currently lead. In fact, the desire to see a task, project or organization achieve greater results is often why many leaders constant grow and take on greater leadership roles. With most promotions comes a great incentive as well: compensation.

But in the Leadercast video People Will Work Harder for Meaning Than for Money, Dr. Tim Irwin shares that individuals who see the meaning in their work report that it outweighs monetary reward.

Meaning, or the significance of one’s daily duties or tasks, can offer individuals a sense of purpose, achievement of a greater good or even the feeling of accomplishment that they are making the world a better place. As leaders, Dr. Irwin says it’s important that we help our team members find meaning in the tasks and responsibilities that are given to them within our organization.

Helping employees find meaning can occur by asking the following questions:


Why are the responsibilities that have been to an individual important to the organization? Each position with your company plays a key role in organizational success. Have you identified why the responsibilities that you assign to your team are essential in making the organization effective or efficient? Sharing this key information with your team may help them take pride in the work they produce or value the detail in projects or tasks that are completed.


When individuals fulfill the necessary tasks, who does their work immediately impact? It is very helpful for leaders to show team members the immediate impact of their work. In some organizations, the immediate impact may be to external customers and for others, the impact may be internal - to other employees or teams. Offering insight regarding how work roles immediately impacts others can also help individuals see the meaning in their organizational roles.


How is their organizational role vital to building a better world? As socially responsible business takes center stage across the world, showing team members how their tasks or responsibilities contribute to building a better world and a more efficient society can encourage individuals to recognize the meaning behind the work they perform daily. Not only so, contributing to a greater world helps employees take pride in what they do.

Now it’s your turn:

How can you help those you lead find meaning in their organizational role?

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