From Responsibility to Values-Oriented Leadership

6 Theses on Meaning and Values in Personal Life and Work Environments
Dr. Thomas Mengel, PMP
Winlaw, B.C., Canada

Life is full of challenges and opportunities. Hence, we are called to respond according to our personal situation and possibilities. Based on Frankl's Existential Analysis (1984) and some enhancements to his work, the following 6 theses are presented to inspire a valuable discussion on meaning and values in our personal and corporate life:

1. Personal responsibility: A human being first of all aspires to organize his or her life meaningful and values-oriented. In choosing from the various categories of values within the different areas of living one uses patterns typical for one's type of personality, which is forged by one's socio-cultural environment. The plan of one's individual life and its realization, however, express one's personal and individual handwriting - a personal response to life's demands.

2. Personal Responsiveness: A person organizes her life within natural and cultural relations and towards individual and social orientation. Thereby she uses the following categories of values and meaning: creational values, experiential values, and attitudinal values. The different levels of organization are: spiritual, psychological, physical. Her instruments for orientation and control are intuition and feeling as well as reason and conscience.

3. Self-leadership: Facing various challenges and situations, a person feels his life to be full of meaning and intact in as much as he orientates himself towards the richness of what he shall, will and can do and as far as he indeed translates that into action. Wherever he stays behind he feels his life to be broken and limited according to the tragic triad of pain, guilt and death. In freely and responsibly organizing his life and by consciously dealing with his failures and limits man becomes the entrepreneur of his personal and social future.

4. Social responsibility: A major part of a person's life she lives within social relations and especially at work. Choosing and organizing her work environment and the company she is working for, is an integral part of the process of organizing her personal life. Depending on how much she shall, will and can influence that process she also will be part of organizing corporate culture.

5. Social responsiveness: Companies and corporations do orient themselves by values they create for themselves ("internal corporate culture", "profit") and for others ("external corporate culture", "benefits"). Therefore persons, tasks, tools and information have to be organized properly. The resulting organizational units, processes, products and services serve the purpose of the company.

6. Values-oriented leadership: A company is perceived as meaningful and valuable in as much as its products and services are well accepted and purchased. Therefore the organizational process within a company not only has to be designed according to its purpose (management) but it also has to be translated in a meaningful and values-oriented way (leadership). A company succeeds in as much as the entrepreneurs and managing leaders succeed in integrating the personal life of as many people as possible into the process of designing the company's culture and strategy and as they manage to get involved as many people as feasible in that process.


Böschemeyer, U. (1994). Vom Typ zum Original. Lahr: SKV-Edition.

Frankl, V. (1984). Man's Search for Meaning. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Mengel, T. (2003). Persönliche Führung mithilfe des DISG-Modells. Führungstechniken werteorientiert einsetzen. In: KommEnt issue 8, 04/2003, pp. 10-12.

Mengel, T. (2002). Unternehmen Zukunft - Zukunftsunternehmen. in: Existenz und Logos. Issue 2/2002, pp. 201 - 203.

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