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Less Toxic, More Human


Less Toxic, More Human
Work Better with Professor Loredana’s New Book, “The Job Is Easy, The People Are Not!”

As the workplace continues to shift in new and uncharted directions, Professor Dr Loredana Padurean, Senior Associate Dean at Asia School of Business (ASB) and International Faculty Fellow at MIT Sloan, tackles the age-old question of “What are the skills of the future?” in her book, The Job Is Easy, The People Are Not!

In a world where leaders are expected to be technically, mentally, and emotionally competent, the workplace has become more complex, with new values and procedures adding a unique set of challenges and concerns to leaders, employees, and the overall work environment.

That’s where The Job Is Easy, The People Are Not!, and its accompanying Spotify podcast, comes in. Featuring a collection of refreshingly candid conversations with professionals in the ASB and MIT Sloan community, Prof. Loredana’s latest book aims to provide readers with the necessary skills and insight to help them navigate their professional life.

“The field of management is primarily about managing people and their impact on various aspects of a business. From organisational behaviour to operations management, economics to entrepreneurship, and change management to digital transformation, the one variable that always creates complexities is people,” says Prof. Loredana.

After reevaluating the concept of “Soft and Hard skills” in the workplace, Prof. Loredana found these traditional terms to be limited and misleading. To better reflect the true needs of the individual professional, she identified the 10 Smart skills that proved essential for becoming better leaders – and people.

While conceptually the same, “Smart and Sharp” differs from “Soft and Hard” on a psychological level, where the latter gives fixed meaning to skill sets, and the former allows adaptability. Knowing how to manage people is not “Soft,” it is just being “Smart,” while technical skills are not “Hard” and set in stone, but need to be constantly sharpened as technology evolves.

Seeing the importance of developing “Smart” people skills, Prof. Loredana conceptualised the “Top 10 Smart Skills” to not only help people become better coworkers but also better people. By the end of reading the book, the reader will gain a solid understanding of The Top 10 Smart Skills, from emotional maturity and humility to validation, listening, and managing up.

Exploring the very human challenge of working with others, especially when coworkers do not see eye to eye, The Job Is Easy, The People Are Not comprises 10 in-depth interviews between Prof. Loredana and her award-winning fellow academics and colleagues, such as Prof. Charles Fine, Chrysler Leaders for Global Operations Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and former Dean of Asia School of Business; Prof.

Roberto Fernandez, William F. Pounds Professor in Management and a Professor of Organisation Studies; Dr Hadija Mohd, Senior Lecturer at ASB; and Prof. Yi-Ren Wang, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour at ASB, among others. In addition to personal, professional and theoretical anecdotes, each chapter provides practical suggestions about how to develop “Smart” skills to better navigate the complex waters of working with others.

Armed with these insights, readers will find both the job – and the people – becoming easier. As such, this book is invaluable for leaders and professionals at any stage of their careers who desire to nurture a better working environment.

The Job Is Easy, The People Are Not! is now available in paperback and Amazon Kindle. The accompanying podcast is now available on Spotify.
To learn more about the “Smart and Sharp skills” curated by Prof. Loredana, visit

About the Author

Prof. Dr Loredana Padurean is the Associate Dean at Asia School of Business, a collaboration between the Central Bank of Malaysia and MIT Sloan School of Management, and an International Faculty Fellow at MIT Sloan. Loredana is the Faculty Director for Action Learning and Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ASB. Prof.

Loredana has been an energising force behind the establishment of the school and, in particular, the development of MIT Sloan-devised action learning programmes in Asia, in collaboration with corporate partners in the region. Under her leadership, the Action Learning programme at ASB was recognised repeatedly as one of the most innovative programmes in the world.

She is an international keynote and TedX speaker that shared the stage with Steve Wozniak, Bob Geldof, ministers, deans, authors and public figures in the United States, Asia-Pacific, and Europe.

Prof. Loredana has taught in various MIT Sloan executive programmes such as the Executive Programme in General Management (EPGM), the MIT Scaling Bootcamp, Driving Strategic Innovation, at IMD Lausanne and Cambridge, MA, as well as regional companies such as AirAsia, AIIB, MIDF, Thomson Hospital, AXIATA ADA, Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, China Construction Bank, Maybank, CIMB, Prudential, Khazanah Nasional and many more.

Her most recent research, “Jungle, Mountain, Ocean – A Startup Journey,” focuses on understanding the evolution of start-ups from scale-ups to sail-ups. Prof. Loredana has an MA in Communication and Economics and a PhD in Management from USI Switzerland.

To learn more about Prof. Dr Loredana Padurean, visit her website at