What A Story About Human Resources Taught Me About Managers and Bosses

- Leadership

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by Vasco Duarte

On this blog I often write about how to be a great boss, or I give a million tips for better management. What I almost never write about is HR. But after I read an article on Forbes by Liz Ryan called Do We Still Need Human Resources? I realized HR is a just as important topic.

So what’s the story? Liz worked for a Chicago based company and had to go check on some problems in a distribution center some miles outside the city. She walked into a different world, with different believes and values. But instead of trying to convince those people about who was right or wrong, she did something else.

She listened like crazy. She answered their questions. She asked a lot of questions. She had to be real. And most important: She had to tell them the truth whatever they asked her.

There’s more to her story, just read it, it’s worth it. But for me the most important message was in the things I just mentioned. Being in HR isn’t about sick day allowances and laws, but about talking to people and listening to what drives them.

In a way it is about how being the boss isn’t about being bossy. And also the very same as in how being a manager isn’t about managing people.

As Liz puts it:

I saw immediately what the job of HR is: to take care of the team’s morale and to build Team Mojo. The job of HR is to keep the energy moving and to make an organization the best place to work that it can be.

So what about her question: Do We Still Need Human Resources? It’s a tough one. And I honestly don’t know the answer. Just like I don’t know if we need to get rid of all managers. What I do know is that we need more people like Tuomas Syrjänen from Futurice, who happens to be a boss. And more people like Pascal Sarrazin who is a manager. And I don’t care if we call them HR or Good Samaritans, but we definitely need more people like Liz.

Photo: rawpixel (Unsplash)

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