Does the term human capital ring about in your head lately? A successful company = exemplary human relations. Simple equation. What about when there is no balance? Is it proper that all roads lead to leadership?
Let’s begin at the top, with the head of the company – the manager. The manager is supposed to have authority because that person possesses the trust of the entire organisation. They paint a vision that people find interesting. Build relationships and trust. Their values are exemplary to all. Together with their team, they create products with taste. They invest in the education of their staff since they are aware that the company with the newest methods and acquired knowledge will be able to compete with other organisations. They don’t reserve seats only for the best in the bus but are aware that different profiles bring different qualities. The employees are given responsibilities but are allowed to work in their own way. When panic erupts, they don’t cast blame but take responsibility. They are not only diligent but effective. Excellent end results are no coincidence.
Universal, magically competent leaders are non-existent.
Success is not ingrained in our DNA. Neither is arrogance. But there exist leaders that build their authority with fear. They possess no vision and only see the importance of their work in terms of money. Instead of emotional intelligence, they show hateful tendencies. They employ people that are less knowledgeable than they are and fear being overthrown. They think investing in education is a waste of money. They only take responsibility when the results are positive, employees shoulder the blame for everything else. They have no respect. They treat people as robots, who you can kick when you feel like it. We like to latch on to the news with bad endings, which is why such organisations have more publicity since the workers often warn of the bad work conditions. Unhappy workers therefore rather stay in such toxic environments since they believe that it’s approximately the same everywhere else.
Let’s go back to the word human capital.
When you remove the employees out of the company you are left with no driving force and no completed products. Does this mean that the work of every employee can be quantified only in money? Could we start quantitatively grading their belonging, responsibility, knowledge and thoughts? Of course not. Therefore it is not logical that their contributions are being graded only through key performance indicators. Leadership is more complex than mere comparisons of key indicators.
Regardless, in an organisation we are all in the same boat, so let us look beyond leadership. When you think of your work, how frustrated do you get on a scale from 1-10? Do you feel as if you belong to the company or do you only think about what belongs to you? Do you believe that there is a correlation between belonging and to belong?
At the start of our careers, we have the energy to handle it all. Writing down our goals, short nights, learning new skills and plenty of patience for the co-workers that dampen our brain cells. Soon, spending time at work gets tiresome. Some allow their self-image to be smeared with unimportant individuals in their way. Others don’t know how to put up borders, find new challenges or ways to compromise.
Tasks get harder by the day and the pay is low. You feel no belonging, but the list of things you deem belong to you remains expansive. But why quit? You start living in safe harbours and look for loopholes. You try to prove your seeming infirmity in every way possible. You punch in and only do your personal chores during working hours. Salaries do not fall from the sky, bonuses even less.
We all are human capital.
Exceptional, effective and exemplary, or toxic, arrogant and sardonic. Leaders and workers. Women and men. It is not always the fault of the employee and it’s not always the leadership that stinks. You don’t live in the conviction that life constantly owes you something. You will be disappointed every time. Sustainable responsibility is our personal mission. We ourselves set our own borders and choose our environments. As eternal apprentices of life, we must not allow for us to become like the birds on the graves of our dreams, while the days fly by.