Human Resources: a mine of precious gemsOver the past decades the word resource has undergone, in its practical use, remarkable aesthetic variations, which have not changed its intrinsic meaning. According to the Italian language dictionary resource means: “that which enables one to overcome a difficulty”, therefore the human resource is “a human or intellectual means which enables one to overcome a difficulty”. Thus, theoretically, on the basis of the above interpretation, managing human resources would mean: “the management of human or intellectual means which help one to overcome a difficulty”. Certainly, on a superficial level, it seems an obsolete, archaic and unacceptable definition. When faced with this meaning, the Earth’s six billions inhabitants may then ask themselves: “do we exist, work, reproduce and spend our lives solely to be able to solve or overcome a difficulty?” Wouldn’t be the case then, through the creative development of innovative paradigms, to propose new definitions?Certainly the word paradigm, as defined in the Webster– a group of basic hypotheses, which constitute a vision of the world or a new model – can be applied to the particular field of human resources. However, developing new paradigms have their difficulties. As history shows, they have always been, at the beginning, fought, mocked, opposed and prohibited. But time, an important variable, has always contributed, through reflection, to reinstate was had been demonised and to transform it into an element of vigour, growth and progress. In this article we will attempt to present a new paradigm, related to the management of human resources, which is based on the writings of a fascinating and extraordinary individual, Baha’u’llah, who lived in the second half of the nineteenth century, and was imprisoned for almost half a century for his ideas, principles and writings and is already regarded as the Author of new model of life.The definition of human resource in Baha’u’llah’s writings (Tablets revealed after the Aqdas) is in itself innovative: “Man is a mine rich with gems of inestimable value, the lack of proper education has, though, deprived him of what he inherently possesses”, therefore the management of human resources involves a very challenging activity which is that of managing “mines rich with gems of inestimable value”. But even the term management, in Baha’u’llah’s innumerable tablets, denotes: “sharing”, through a “process of consultation”, which unveils “the gems of inestimable value”, therefore to “educate” – to take out – what we “inherently possess”, to become aware of it and consciously put it at “service” of others for the “growth”of all.In the contemporary world the relationship between “human resources” and those who manage them, especially in school and at work interacts on two levels: the physical and intellectual. That means that elements such as physical appearance, gestures, glance, voice musicality, and later, education, the capacity to express oneself, memory, vocabulary and the speed to learn or perform belong to those two levels. On average, the management of human resources occurs using these elements of interaction between people. It is difficult to go beyond that. But, whoever lives in close contact with human beings sees that, often, other levels interact in the sphere of “human resources”; levels which are never taken into consideration, or which we tend to hide, smother or barely take a look at. They are three:- the level of emotions,- the level of will,- the level of intrinsic qualities also known as spiritual level.Let’s analyse them together.
One: The level of emotionsHow many times have we realized that the level of emotions have sometimes misled us in relationships with others? How many times weren’t we unable to overcome an obstacle because of our emotional state or we rushed our judgement or took a decision in an emotional condition, which produced a result that was incoherent, illogical or not suitable for that time? And how many times our superiors, those who have managed “our human resource” were not able to read through or see our emotions and therefore to be patient with or to hurry a certain decision? How many people in our lives: friends, office managers, directors, subordinates, teachers, you readers, have asked what your emotions have or had been at the time of being close to making a decision, or to take an exam or to go through an important interview? And how, instead, it would have been important to ask, because, maybe, it would have changed your decision or the situation. Emotions should be acknowledged, studied, in some circumstances let free and in others controlled in a way that does not create prejudices in others and becomes a strength for ourselves. Two: The level of willIsn’t will, which works on a higher level than the emotional, intellectual and physical, often forgotten when managing relationships? Don’t we often fill the gaps left by our weaknesses through this extraordinary capacity? The capacity to do one’s best to succeed, the challenge to go all the way to solve problems and face tests, the strength to go through pain and carry on, the determination to be patient in certain circumstances or to avoid confrontation in others: where do you think all these skills come from? (They come) from this remarkable level, which each of us develops as a muscle and without which many of our capacities would remain concealed. How many times those who manage “the human resources” take into account this valuable quality we all possess? It is important to increase the efficiency and strength of this level of our personality reaching, through appropriate actions, qualitative and quantitative improvement with encouragement, training and sacrifice. Three: The level of intrinsic qualitiesThe intrinsic qualities, those which prophets and messengers call talents, inner or spiritual qualities, are the most precious jewels in our mine rich with gems of inestimable value. Each of us is unique in the universe and within our own uniqueness we possess infinite intrinsic qualities, but often we are not aware of them or we are not able to make them function properly. Trustworthiness, the capacity to love and be loved, justice, patience, purity, joy, generosity, abnegation, fairness, credibility, respect, sincerity, spirit of service towards others, are only part of a micro list, which will enable the reader to understand what we are talking about. How much are these spiritual qualities part of our life and how much does their influence affect our relations and decisions? Can we “manage a human resource” without involving this level of interrelation with the world around us? Isn’t this level a substantial part of our personality? How can we enable this level to play a role in our life? Experience shows that, often, even for those who are partially aware of it, there is a feeling of shame or the need to be cautious when dealing with ourselves or with others on this particular level. The inability to use the qualities of this level, definitely leads to a failing in the management of human resources. Did someone at work, in school or among your friends ask how your own spiritual qualities are a factor in your daily decisions? Has your boss ever mentioned that, perhaps, if some of his or your spiritual qualities were shared, different relations could be built and different decisions could be made? Certainly this is a new field and, like all new paradigms, needs experimentation, proofs, and ideas. But how do these five levels of interrelations work together? To make it clearer I will take an example from nature. A tree has five levels of growth and development:
The roots, the base on the ground, the trunk, the branches and the fruits. In order to develop efficiently, the tree has to grow harmoniously measuring out the capacities involved in its growth. Thus, while it develops good roots, at the same time it widens the base on the ground, strengthens the trunk, extends the branches and supports them with leaves and, in the end, if all of this has followed a harmonious process, fine fruits are the result. Connecting this example from nature with the previous five levels of interrelation we can state that:1. - the level of spiritual qualities corresponds to the roots,2. - the level of will corresponds to the base of the trunk,3. - the level of emotions corresponds to the trunk,4. - the level of intellectual qualities corresponds to the branches5. - the level of physical qualities corresponds to the fruits, which could be delightful, sweet and enjoyable if the process develops harmoniously.But if the roots are small, weak and underdeveloped the tree cannot receive the necessary nourishment to develop its potentialities. Thus it grows, undersized and very vulnerable. Hence it could dry up, not to give any fruit and be good only for the fire. Well nourished roots, pushed by the will to grow and expand, allow the tree to reach the light. The process is connected to the following levels; therefore the base of the trunk must find a non polluted environment because otherwise the trunk risks drying out. Creating a happy environment based on positive feelings, being interested in the things we are doing, experiencing inner harmony with co-workers, being kind and smiling, not answering straight off, but waiting and trying to understand what possible frictions could be generated, working on putting off and not igniting these conflicts, encouraging a system of mutual sharing and learning are ways to diminish the toxicity of the environment and to protect the growth of the “resource”.
Obviously the development is proportional to the growth of the roots and to their strengthening over time. It is not necessary that roots are completely developed for the plant to come out: when the spiritual awareness grows so does the will to emerge to the light. But the roots are not visible, if not through the growth of their external manifestation–the base of the trunk and the trunk itself. Therefore, spiritual qualities must be shown through visible actions. And the latter are further developed with the help of will, with sharing emotional states, with the brightness of intellectual qualities and with the participation of the body.If these levels work together, grow and develop harmoniously, the fruit we obtain is ripe, sweet and tasty. Therefore, decisions are made in a short time, the assessment of their success is acquired immediately, others and yours personal happiness is at its climax, respect, collaboration and care on the side of those around you are guaranteed due to a better way to manage problems and mutual learning develops.Nowadays the system works exactly in the opposite way; which means it gives primary importance to physical and intellectual relations, looking for comfort, stability and security, ignoring other levels.Thus, over a short time the “resource” dries up, because it lacks nourishment (which is supposed to come from the roots that are not there). It moves to other areas looking for something which could fill the inner vacuum and enables him/her to unveil her/his gems of inestimable value. But the majority of those who manage human resources are not conscious of the correct process, searching for more easy ways and comfort, thinking that polishing and making the fruit more beautiful can improve its taste. It is from well nourished roots and from the harmony of the five levels process that we can obtain delicious fruits.In a next article it may be important to give ideas and tools on how to nourish and develop the components of these five levels. It will also be important to provide a method of research on how to find out weaknesses and natural shortcomings engraved in each level and explain what steps to take.In conclusion we can declare obsolete the expression “management of human resources” and introduce a new one which states “sharing and cooperativeness between souls”. I would suggest the readers not to just put this paper aside and think “this is either nice or utopian”, but to continue and reflect on this paradigm, and to try and base the growth of your soul and the relations with the souls with whom you come into contact on this new model. Only through a new awareness based on visible actions we will enter a stage of maturity in the management of human resources, which again is the “sharing and cooperativeness between souls”. Observing the majesty of the tree below, take the courage and begin.
• Engineer, managing director of SCAC group, co-founder of EBBF, member of the Baha'i community, conference presenter, university lecturer, writer.Beppe Robiati