Leadership and Talent Challenges in Asia. It’s Different.

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  • Dan Ostrom

    While I am not an HR person, I AM a person that has been AFFECTED by HR over the past 30 years of my IT Career
    I found you article very interesting, but note that over my career I have seen the error of trying to Manage people, when you should be leading them and managing things. You have hinted at this in you article but keep spilling back to saying Managing
    I have been *Managed* at many of the positions I have had, and it felt just like that BEING MANAGED. I have also had 2 or 3 really fantastic Leaders where I was empowered and I loved gong to work (no, it wasn’t work, it was a passion) everyday, I looked forward to Mondays!
    Again this is from my perspective, but HR has always felt like the whip the Company used to keep the serfs in line. Just look at who signs their paycheck, and you will easily determine where the loyalties lie. To make HR employee focused, the whip needs to be removed from the equation and the employee needs to feel like part of the solution and not part of the problem.
    I understand the many changes HR has gone through, and all the training hours Management has burned trying to implement the solution du jour, we feel that directly in the trenches. To say that performance is not tied to raises/bonuses is to delude oneself that they are not one in the same to the Employee (try to convince me that if I do a crappy job, you won’t withhold an increase or discipline me), they opposite should be true as well, otherwise what is my incentive? That question leads us to the employment climate that has existed since before the Recession, the absolute soul-crushing retort from Management “just be thankful you have a job”.
    I have seen the cyclical nature of this over the years, Companies can’t find talent so the honey is sweet. When times are tough we are threatened with our jobs if we questions for push back (IMHO not allow for pushback is why many companies look great talent, we see the really conditions from customers/clients from the trenches, and not from graphs and pie charts in pretty colors – be surprised what you can learn when you actually talk to your client)
    As I stated, very good article, I don’t usually respond to these types of things, but you piqued my interest 🙂

  • Eddie

    I’ve read attentively your post – thanks Josh Bersin. Not coming from HR myself I found it enjoyable and comprehensive to read. The problem as I face often is HR itself. I have the feeling that there is a sort of complacency among HR Managers where they feel they “have” and “are” the “key” to all. Unfortunately some have not even understood “Talent Management” as of today how do you expect they will understand “People Management”? They would, alas, feel way too busy to read a post such as this one.
    Personally I like your comparison with athletes from Reid Hoffman book; “… we hire people like we hire professional athletes. They work for our organization as long as it is valuable for both parties, and then people move on.” If the athlete (professionals) can show success, if the remunerations from sponsors (corporation) is right – both will do their best to keep it that way.

  • Eddie

    Josh Bersin – this is great insight I loved to read as I am stationed in SE Asia myself. And Yes, Asian Leadership IS very different. Unfortunately your travel was limited to those big hubs that are interesting to banks, hospitality and the like. I pretend, would you have visited Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan or Vietnam, your report would sure look different. Unfortunately many companies are at the first place looking to maximize their profit to the disadvantage of having engaged staff motivated to stay. I hear many complains of HR on “job hoppers” that leads to “if we offer training it has to be cheap or nothing”. Such attitude makes it very difficult to keep a discussion going.
    Great post Josh. Looking out for more on this.
    BTW, it seems I didn’t found a Newsletter button – can you guide me to it? Thanks.

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