Steps to Success

Finding Meaning in Work

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Employees crave meaningful work and a sense of purpose. Studer (2018) suggested that individuals place greater importance on the meaning of work than they do on workplace happiness or making a high salary. He also found that the lack of meaning in one’s career contributes to high employee turnover.

Realization and Justification Perspectives

In today’s business environment, leaders in the workplace provide employees some level of autonomy, control, and a place to utilize their skills. However, some employees are still finding the meaning in the work they do elusive (Ge Lepisto & Pratt, 2017). Maybe what is required is a new lens to look at how leaders and employees can control this outcome of meaningful work.

Let’s do this by looking at meaningful work using two perspectives. The first is the ‘realization perspective’ and the second is the ‘justification perspective.’ Each provide a unique perspective depending on which lens meaning of work is viewed.

Realization Perspective. The ‘realization perspective’ is fairly well developed and concentrates on how an employee perceives if they are being used for purposes other than what they value as important. The leader influences these perspectives. In the leader-follower model, an employee’s perceived value depends on the relationship between the employee and the leader. Though relationships are integral to trust, one way the leader could enrich the employee’s perspective is by providing intrinsic motivation and removing leadership constraints such as prescription, domination, inauthenticity, and limited autonomy.

Justification Perspective. The justification perspective is less developed, though the idea is aligned with uncertainty, ambiguity, and the value the individual places on self-efficacy and personal performance. Employee work experiences are subjective and are viewed through the employee’s norms, values, and perceptions of self-worth (Ge Lepisto & Pratt, 2017). Stated another way, through self-efficacy, employees will question the work they are doing and question whether or not the work they are doing has value. They will also question the reason for them doing the work, and if they cannot align the work they are doing with their values, the result can cause an insecure feeling.


The realization perspective is how well a leader communicates the value of work to employees through motivation and also through the removal of leadership constraints. The justification perspective is how well the employee understands self-efficacy. Employees with a high self-efficacy are intrinsically guided by personal values, and these individuals will battle potential constraining, impoverished working conditions. Without this intrinsically guided moral compass, employees may be destined to work that has no meaning.

Have you heard about EDI’s partnership with CityUniversity of Seattle? EDI alums are able to challenge 12 credits towards a Master's in Leadership at CityU and receive a 15% discount on tuition! ** for more information contact enrollment advisor, Melissa Myers at or call her at 253.896.3215**


Studer, Q. (2018, Aug 05). Leaders help employees find meaning, purpose in their work. Pensacola News Journal.

Lepisto, D. A., & Pratt, M. G. (2017). Meaningful work as realization and justification: Toward a dual conceptualization. Organizational Psychology Review, 7(2), 99–121.

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Blog post written by: Dr. Gregory Price is the Associate Dean in the School of Applied Leadership at City University of Seattle. Leadership studies support an individual’s independence and self-efficacy. Challenge courses you have taken in leadership and apply them to the Master of Science in Management and Leadership. Printed with permission from the CityU School of Applied Leadership blog.



CityU - Steps to Success in Public Speaking & Being Persuasive

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There have been episodes in my life where I have been asked to speak in front of an audience. Although I don’t consider public speaking a favorite activity, I do tend to enjoy it, and the enjoyment factors are even better once I have had a chance to prepare for and reflect on the experience.

“Speaking to an audience can be fun. Some may not enjoy it, but it can be learned.”

Over the years, I learned that communication, patience, and emotional intelligence were important aspects in building a successful career. Persuasion, a communication trait, is the art of influencing others but there are differences between persuasion and influence. Persuading someone is more than having the ‘gift of gab.’ In my experience, when I am looking to influence another, I have to believe in what I am sharing. By being honest with myself tends to create trust with others. Trust building, to me, is central to my ethical and moral compass. 

Having held leadership positions in different parts of my career, it wasn’t until I earned my MBA in Marketing where I came to appreciate three approaches to communication. With the benefit of hindsight, it is these three approaches which helped drive my success. Knowing which form to use often depends on the audience you are trying to reach. Here’s a brief synopsis:

  • Inform: consider tactics marketers use to compare two products, like Coke and Pepsi.

  • Remind: think Coke Cola commercials that show people having fun. Do you need to be persuaded or informed? No. These commercials are reminders to drink Coke.

  • Persuade: marketers will use language that promise happiness, create anxiety, or limit availability. Which works on you?

Influence is an action designed to change people’s perception on how they may view you or a product/service. For any of these opportunities, consider the words you speak in conversations or the images you show in presentations. To change people’s perceptions, we can draw on four approaches which generate action:

  1. Get attention. Present information quickly that strikes at the heart of those in your audience. The emotion used in the story will keep a person’s attention. Do this by asking a thought question, point out a statistic and discuss the reason for it, etc.

  2. Positive perception. Perceptions are closely related with judgement, a derivative of emotions. Consider evoking a positive emotion through your tone, the words you choose, or through an image you show, such as a graphic showing an increase in revenue. Then, tie the tone to the image.

  3. Content sharing. Be deliberate in your communication. Inspire others through storytelling. Profiling people who have accomplished extraordinary feats work well. Bottom line: Emotional stories get shared.

  4. Trigger words and actions. Emotions underline decision-making, and those emotions come from experiences. Thus, persuasion comes easily when communication evokes emotions from experiences people can easily understand and associate.

Now that we have established that persuasion is best delivered through engaging an audience’s emotional response, the question becomes which of these appeal to a given audience? The answer: It depends. Consider for instance:

  • Aww…. The emotional response you get when you see a cute little puppy. The puppy evokes the ‘awe’, but putting people in the story can create a desired emotional response.

  • Resentment over injustice. You’ve seen how emotions about saving this or that can hit a nerve or trigger an action. Natural disasters prompt responses of this kind.

  • Surprise. Showing or expressing happiness can be a very powerful narrative. Working hard on a project and gaining praise for a job well done can evoke powerful human emotions of happiness.

  • Fear/Anxiety. People tend to want to be clean. So when you tell stories about how poor reactions occur to things such as bad breath, dirty hair or clothes, an unkempt yard, etc. you tend to see the images these evoke in an emotional way.

  • Self. People like to feel important. Encourage this action through your words, images, and stories.

To be persuasive means to establish common ground with your audience, bring them into your world by shaping the story you are sharing. Storytelling is a great way to bring this journey alive in a public speaking engagement. Informing the audience with visual images and auditory key words builds trust and drives the experience for your audience through connecting with their affect. When you speak, be yourself. If you’re presenting, be different. Done together, combine the two communicative methods.

Have you heard about EDI’s partnership with CityUniversity of Seattle? EDI alums are able to challenge 12 credits towards a Master's in Leadership at CityU and receive a 15% discount on tuition! ** for more information contact enrollment advisor, Melissa Myers at or call her at 253.896.3215**

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Dr. Gregory Price is the Associate Dean in the School of Applied Leadership at City University of Seattle. Degrees in M.Ed in Instructional Design, M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, MS in Management and Leadership, and Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership.

CityU - Steps to Success - Corporate Entrepreneurial Leadership


Corporate Entrepreneurial Leadership

By Dr. Gregory Price


Got an idea for a new business, product, or service within your organization, but feel nobody is listening? Organizational leaders who are not seeing growth in their core business risk losing momentum and market share in their business. They may also observe lowered employee morale and possibly witness a brain drain. When this happens, it can be difficult to recapture a sustainable presence.  Corporate entrepreneurship can be an answer to this slide.

What is Corporate Entrepreneurial Leadership?

Corporate entrepreneurship is defined as individuals and/or teams within an established company that can leverage its assets and resources to build a new product, service, or new business that can stand alone and contribute to the organization’s market position, revenue stream, and organizational mix.  Several organizations have used different models to gain the most from the investment in their employees.  Google is probably the most talked about organization that has moved down this path. They give employees 15% of their workweek to focus on innovation such as new product development, services, brand development, and the like.

Researchers have identified four different models in use today, they are: The Opportunist Model, the Enabler Model, the Advocate Model, and the Producer Model.  Each model has specific qualities, depending on the organization’s purpose and goal.   Organizations that adopt any one of these models can position themselves as a more competitive player in their industry.

The Opportunist Model – Often individuals will get their organizations started on corporate entrepreneurship through this model.  Organizations that may find this model useful may not have any corporate entrepreneurship model in existence.  What is more, the leaders of the organization may not even be aware that they need to create one.  Yet, employees and their entrepreneurial tenacity, against all odds, may develop something and present it to leadership. The Opportunist Model is born.

The Enabler Model – The model is driven by the organization.  A process within the organization is set up allowing employees to develop new concepts should they be willing to do so and are given adequate support.  The opportunities that employees are allowed to develop must fit within the strategic direction of the organization. And, in the end, the employees will claim no stake in the outcome. The Google model discussed previously follows this path.

The Advocate Model – The model fits within the organizational structure where leaders have created a culture of innovation.  In this scenario, innovation is a staple of the organization.  The model allows for budgets and organizational structure is assigned as businesses are created. For employees, the model has depth where the organization provides support and assistance to the extent that employees can go on retreats.  The retreats are 180-day contracts where business plans are built and leadership teams review the proposals.

The Producer Model – The model exists in mostly larger corporations where funding is a function of the model.  The objective is to encourage employees to develop and innovate. One aspect of this model is to encourage cross departmental collaboration, build disruptive businesses, and create careers outside of current business units.  Internally, the organization has gone so far as to develop an Accelerator Program to support those entrepreneurially inclined.

Have you heard about EDI’s partnership with CityUniversity of Seattle? EDI alums are able to challenge 12 credits towards a Master's in Leadership at CityU and receive a 15% discount on tuition! ** for more information contact enrollment advisor, Melissa Myers at or call her at 253.896.3215**


Dr. Gregory Price

Dr. Gregory Price is the Associate Dean in the School of Applied Leadership at City University of Seattle.


CityU - Steps to Success - Leadership & the Importance of Saying Thanks


Leadership and the Importance of Saying Thanks

By Dr. Joel Domingo

Of the many descriptors that people associate with good leaders—proficient, charismatic, intelligent, compassionate, etc. there is one that people rarely use—thankful. When was the last time you thought of a leader who demonstrated or even led with thankfulness.

Thankfulness, which can be thought of as actions and gratitude, which is associated with attitudes are both generally understood within a context of good behavior and polite social norms. However, when put into the perspective of being an effective leader, they are powerful concepts.

Researchers of leadership have long explored the qualities of a “virtuous” or “real” leader. One approach, known as “authentic leadership” starts with questions of how can leaders be more genuine and lead from a place of conviction. A question commonly explored in this approach is, “How can leaders lead from a place that demonstrates their commitment and service to their people?”

These ideas highlight the need for leaders to be purposeful, relational, and centered on the belief of the talents and skills of others. When leaders demonstrate a belief in people, positive effects occur including employees that are more engaged and creative (Chaudhary & Panda, 2018), and are motivated to go beyond to help others (Cottrill, Lopez, & Hoffman, 2014). Central to this belief in people is developing and demonstrating thankfulness and gratitude for those in the organization.

Gratitude can be motivating, inspiring, and even empowering to others. Consider when you were personally thanked by a leader or someone you looked up to. What did that word of thanks and encouragement do for you? Did it transform or encourage you?

The way leaders demonstrate gratitude is not about simple gestures and platitudes but requires a level of intentionality (and creativity) that when practiced, can expand a leader’s ability to influence others and bring out the best in them. Leading with intentionality is something that leadership authors Kouzes and Posner (2017) call “Encouraging the Heart.” In their book, The Leadership Challenge, they outline several principles to consider when encouraging others. Each tie into gratitude. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Expect the Best. Setting high expectations for people is a good thing, so believe that people will rise to those expectations.

  • Pay Attention. Notice the little things that people do and when you mentioned that you appreciate them for the little things, watch how motivating that is!

  • Personalize Recognition. Get to know people’s likes and dislikes. People appreciate it when you take the time to know them personally and whether they like public or private recognition.

Leadership at its heart is about people and relationship. As leaders, the simple act of thanking others is something that cannot be overlooked and can be one of life’s most powerful motivators. Albert Schweitzer once said, “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.”


Have you heard about EDI’s partnership with CityUniversity of Seattle? EDI alums are able to challenge 12 credits towards a Master's in Leadership at CityU and receive a 15% discount on tuition! ** for more information contact enrollment advisor, Melissa Myers at or call her at 253.896.3215**

Dr. Joel Domingo

Dr. Joel Domingo is Associate Professor in the School of Applied Leadership at City University of Seattle and leads the Doctor of Education in Leadership program.



Chaudhary, R., & Panda, C. (2018). Authentic leadership and creativity. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 67(9), 2071-2088. doi:10.1108/IJPPM-02-2018-0082

Cottrill, K., Lopez, P. D., & Hoffman, C. C. (2014). How authentic leadership and inclusion benefit organizations. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 33(3), 275-292. doi: 10.1108/EDI-05-2012-0041

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2017). The leadership challenge: How to make extraordinary things happen in organizations. Retrieved from


CityU - Steps to Success

Student Profile: Maria Robare, Master’s in Leadership

by Gregory Price

Maria Robare

City University of Seattle Master’s in Leadership Alumni

City University of Seattle Alumni, Maria Robare, is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Leadership program. During her graduate studies, she was working as the Human Resources Manager at Summit Federal Credit Union. Since graduating, she has changed positions to that of Director of Human Resources at The Aquinas Institute of Rochester.

About her master’s thesis, titled: Utilizing Spiritual Leadership to Increase Employee Engagement

The focus of her thesis was to demonstrate that engaging employees is all about leadership style. The most effective way to engage employees is to create a true connection between the employee and the leader. To create a connection, the leader’s vision needs to have a broad appeal. The vision cannot just focus on the good of the organization, but how the vision holds promise to all stakeholders. Leaders must work towards creating harmony and well-being by demonstrating concern and care for each employee as a person, and not just treat them as an employee. Lastly, the spiritual leader must be a role model for the vision, well-being, hope, and faith.

How has your Master of Arts degree helped you in your career?

Maria stated that the Master of Arts degree has helped her to expand in her position of Human Resources Manager by developing a better understanding of the effect leadership has on people, which has positively affected the way she coached managers to lead for both successful employee performance and more positive relationships at work. As stated, she has changed positions from Manager to Director of HR at another organization.

Why did you decide to obtain a Master of Arts in Leadership?

Maria stated that she believes leadership can have a profound impact on the lives of others; both at work and their personal lives. She has a strong desire to be a positive influence, to create a positive environment for people and to potentially be a catalyst for others to reach their full potential as people, not just as employees. She believes that the Master of Arts in Leadership (now Master of Science in Management and Leadership) program has provided her a very strong foundation to accomplish this goal.

What plans do you hold for the future?

Maria plans to maintain currency in her profession by continually growing, developing, and learning from experiential experience. Although, now that City University of Seattle has an online Doctor of Education in Leadership program, she is tempted at the idea of continuing her education.

Dr. Gregory Price is the Associate Dean for the School of Applied Leadership at City University of Seattle.