Over the years, most of us don’t see ‘people’ as the essential area of management. We have personnel management, human resources management, but not necessarily people management. While some people see people management as obscure concept, some see it as the real deal. I’m one of them.
People are not merely about competence, expertise, qualification or credentials. People represent all kind of potentials of individuals in particular setting, such as organization or workplaces. People as a whole is a capital for any organization or business entity. Managing people is as important as managing other forms of capital. Just like financial management or natural resource management, people management has its own distinguishing nature.
We can read many theoretical perspectives on people management. Textbooks, journals and business articles are good sources to find it. But, when it comes to day-to-day practice, I’ve learned that the essential components of people management are these two unlikely management-related terms, love and hope.
What a fussy word to elaborate. But we all know everyone want it, albeit everyone has their own definition. Love is about expectation of happiness. Everybody has this. They might love the job. The might love the money. They might love the power. They might love anything else. Whatever it is, there must be something people love about their job. The worst case scenario, they love the status that they are not jobless, despite the fact that they hate everything about the job.
It is also the love of what we do that makes us proficient of what we are doing. I’ve seen that people will learn at their best when they love what they learn. They will also able to overcome almost all obstacles that get in the way, when they love what they do. The optimal learning experience and the adversity to cope with all hindrances are materials in building the path to expertise and mastery. They also decide whether a talented individual can perform in a quality level relevant with his or her talent potential. The love for the work is the main ingredient in talent management process.
People need to be hopeful, and yet, it is hope that makes people upset. People management is about evoking social capital in the workplace. Unlike financial capital, social capital really depends on how the community in a certain workplace believe they have the potential and the capacity to get things done. In short, they need to have hope and confidence.
I think social capital is actually observable and tangible. While the definition of this particular term sounds abstract and ambiguous for some, the actual manifestation of it in daily life is very noticeable. It lies within the relationship people have with another. In terms of organization, it is about how people in the same organization share the same hope in bringing about the same vision into reality, the same values in getting things done, and the same trust on achieving things together. We can find these inside, not outside, the people in our organization. What holds all of these together is hope.
Be engaged, be hilarious
Love and hope are not about statistical data. They are about engaging with others. At the very least, they are about effective communication. At best, they are about constructive relationship. Love is about one’s affinity to his or her own work, and hope is the thread that holds different individuals in a vibrant and creative relationship. Managing people is about engaging all these, it is about how we feel the scent of love and the vibe of hope in the workplace. It is not easy, but it is possible. I’ve seen it happen, and the feel was exhilarating.
I hope you’ll feel it at your work, where ever you are. If you don’t, perhaps it’s time to create it.