The “Two Eyes” Required for Human Resources
Today we’ll discuss the perspectives which HR managers should have.
Our company is offering a course in Bangkok called “HR College,” and we always tell people that “HR should study management.
Managers who do not have knowledge about human resources often fail to drive the organization because they tend to use various methods without understanding about psychology and people’s motivation. On the other hand, HR who do not know about management sometimes only pursue idealism and fail to take actions which contribute to business performance.
HR is required to have both a “warm eye” to consider people’s feelings and at the same time a “cold eye” to face the reality of the business.
Let me tell you a slightly different story here.
A former track and field athlete’s tweet sparked a flame on Twitter and became a hot topic.
He said, “It is wrong to believe that any athlete can be successful if he or she work hard enough. Whether you can become an Olympic athlete or not is 99% based on genetics. It is not true that if you work hard, you will be able to do it.”
In response, many arguments were gathered on the Internet. Some said, “As a leader, don’t deny the importance of hard work,” and “It’s disrespectful to young people who are working hard to achieve their dreams”. On the other hand, there was another group of people with an opposing view who said, “If you look at it dispassionately, that’s the truth.
What do you all think about the story above?
The issue described in the story above is actually just a conflict between two different viewpoints; and not the type of discussion that can lead to a conclusion.
The two theories are:
“Descriptive theory” = which is logically correct?
“Normative theory” = which is ethically desirable?
From an objective and analytical point of view, it would be correct to say that “genetic factors are important for a success as an athlete.” However, it is not wrong to say that “everyone can improve little by little if they work hard”. It is also not wrong to believe that “if anyone works hard, he or she will improve, and some of them will surely fulfill their dreams”.
These two ways of thinking are both correct, just from different perspectives.
Such conflicts can also be seen in our HR work.
It is important to approach human resource development with the idea that “each individual has potential and will surely grow.” I believe this is an ethical and desirable idea.
However, at the same time, management has to achieve its goals.
We also need to think logically and look at our workforce and organization from the perspective of, “can we achieve our goals with the way we are now?”
Sometimes it is necessary to replace people or give them tough feedback to improve their performance. This aspect is another aspect of human resources.
Being kind to people is easier than being hard on them. Anyone can be HR or managers who are just nice to people.
What is more difficult but more valuable, is to create an organization that motivates people and achieves its goals at the same time. I believe that there are only a handful of managers and HR professionals in the world who are able to achieve this.
Managers tend to commit themselves to achieving their goals without paying enough attention to the feelings of their employees. Human resources managers are in the position to support that; nevertheless, management will not be convinced by idealism alone. The ability to look at reality and discuss issues from the perspective of management is what greatly increases the value of an HR manager.
I believe that having both of these qualities: a “warm eye” to care for people’s feelings and a “cold eye” to face the business reality at the same time is a prerequisite for a good HR manager or HR consultant.
Thank you again for reading this newsletter.