Today, we heard employees referred to as “resources” or “assets” by corporate executives, business press and management thought leaders. Michael Eisner, ex Chairman and CEO of Disney, has been recorded as saying “our inventory goes home at night.”
Employees are people. Employees are not assets, resources, or inventory, but Humans with dreams and aspirations.
Did you call your friends, your kids, your wife, your mother, your father, … your greatest assets, resources, or inventory?
There is a Chinese Proverb that teaches the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.
This is not just an economic decision, it is a psychological and emotional decision; because how you relate to a person, an animal or an object depends a lot on how you name or label it.
People are not resources to be mined nor inventory to be turned over. Time is a resource. Office furniture is an asset. People are people.
In the past, we have seen how before putting into slavery, slaughtering, killing, depriving from freedom, invading, colonizing some populations or countries, their names have been altered; instead of calling them by their real name, they became barbarian, primitives, damned, uncivilized, human without soul, insects, etc.
Employees are not assets, resources, or inventory, but human beings with dreams, aspirations, and personal goals.
The new economy is in need of a new type of leadership—a service leadership. This is the kind of leadership that starts Not from wondering How someone could help you achieve your goals, but from a very basic, active generosity of asking how you can help your people achieve their goals, personal or professional.
From this standpoint, the role of any leader in the new economy is to get to know their people individually. All it takes is to start with some basic questions you ask yourself about your people:
- Why are they here?
- What do they want to achieve working for our organization (or buying our product)?
- What are their goals in life, both personal and professional?
- Where are they in their life’s journey?
- What barriers are they facing now in life?
- And lastly, how can I, as the people leader, genuinely help them get where they want to be, be what they want to be, and contribute what they want to contribute?
The new leadership role is active generosity, based on carefully and intentionally collected information about the people agenda, apart from their contextual status as customers or employees.
Start looking at people not from the perspective of how they can help you, but how you can help them. Master this single law and your success is assured.
No person can be a great leader unless he takes genuine joy in the successes of those under him.
W A Nance