People as Competitive Advantage
“He is a good manager; he doesn’t care about making people upset..”
I recently heard this sentence. What does it mean “make people upset”? That you don’t care about their reactions, feelings, expectations, or performances? Is a good manager the one that doesn’t care?
I start with my conclusion:
a manager is a leader that gets the job done leading people to achieve their goals and accomplish their tasks, maintaining a positive environment.
I am fascinated by management styles and ways of expressing your leadership in a compassionate but still effective mode. Is caring about people a trait of a good manager? Or does the difference lie in the atavic parallelism between manager and leader? Does the manager care about tasks and the leader about people?
Differences between the two are blurry in my sight. A manager can be a leader and vice-versa; they must coexist. Trying to answer this question, I asked Google about “manager and leader theories.” The first result I got is:
The management theory is sometimes called transactional leadership and focuses on supervision, organization, and group performance. Transactional leadership is a system of rewards and punishments, and transactional leadership is regularly used in business. When employees do something successfully, managers reward them.
I will state, then, that leaders manage PEOPLE to accomplish TASKS, which makes them “leaders SLASH managers.” Whit that said:
Is this leader (who is also a manager) a good one if he does not care about people?
Why should a leader/manager care about people? It is a tricky dilemma.
Managing resources does not allow you not to care. That is a fact. It is also the product of the natural evolution of Human Resource Management in the process of adapting to change.
Due to the advent of technology and the faster pace of business development following globalization, which quickly makes a product or service obsolete, the real competitive advantage for a company becomes the PEOPLE.
In 2022 the job posting in human resources is populated by this new role of “CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER,” the one that cares about people makes the organization more successful. I wrote several papers on HRM change. My conclusion is that every organization should invest in bringing the people management into the room where the decisions are taken among the C-suite.
To explain what People Management is in practice, we look at the Google example, where this new trend started. It was 2006 at Google, when Laszlo Bock became VP of People Operations. He explains in his book “Work rules” why he chose this name to replace the HR Department: it was a shift from being viewed as an “administrative and bureaucratic” role to “some actual ability to get things done.”
Before Laszlo, they had fewer hired women and a high turnover of those employees. There was a low result on Google’s well-being monitoring among the ones that stayed. Bock found out that the problem for the women employees was related to the stage of being a new mother. Women who had recently given birth were leaving twice Google’s average departure rate. At the time, Google offered an industry-standard maternity leave plan. After a woman gave birth, she got 12 weeks of paid time off. For all other new parents in its California offices, but not for its workers outside the state, the company offered seven paid weeks of leave.
So, in 2007, Bock changed the plan. New mothers would now get five months off at full pay and full benefits, and they were allowed to split up that time however they wished, including taking some of that time off just before their due date. The new mother can take a couple of months off after birth, return part-time for a while, and then take the balance of her time off when her baby is older. Plus, Google began offering seven weeks of new-parent leave to all its workers worldwide.
“He is a good manager; he doesn’t care about making people upset”… That manager should learn from Laszlo’s lesson. From his book 3 main takeaway:
- Make Work Meaningful to Employees
Deep down, every human being wants to find meaning in his or her work … Nothing is a more powerful motivator than to know that you are making a difference in the world.
2. Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast — And It Starts With Freedom and Trust.
3. Invest in Good Management.