This past week the world lost a true musical legend, Mr. B.B. King. He was a genius and a huge influence not only as a Blues artist, but to the world of rock n’ roll. Without B.B. King, as well as other blues artists, rock music would never have come to be. It’s also key to note that the Blues are purely American. They are our contribution to the world of music.
If you ever watched Mr. King perform, he would close his eyes and throw his head back and move with every note that came from his beautiful guitar, Lucille. Like most blues artists, he had a tough background and faced incredible challenges throughout his lifetime. He took those experiences and wrapped them beautifully in songs that ripple with raw emotion.
After years and years of performing, people began to recognize his influence and contribution with awards and accolades. He maintained his grace and humble approach to others and let his music speak for him. In interviews, you often saw his passion for others, their music and for life.
Would you have ever thought that the blues would capture passion so beautifully? When most people encounter situations that give them the blues, they wallow in them and their circumstances drag them further and further down.
Passion is something we shy away from in the workplace. We’re concerned that if we allow people to be passionate they’ll become someone we can’t fence in to the company norms. This seems to be contradictory don’t you think? We want people to bring their “all” to work, but only if it fits what we’re comfortable with.
How would your work and your impact be seen and felt if you closed your eyes and threw your head back like B.B. King? What if you took the “blues” at work and turned them into something amazing?
It may seem a bit out of your comfort zone, but I think you’d love it. People want to see passion at work – especially from HR. Instead of being pulled down in the constant battles you face in employee relations, turn them around and spin them into better renditions of how they are presented to you.
If you know me, you know I’m very passionate. Not just about HR, but life in general. When I hear artists like B.B. King, I immediately identify with them and feel I could jump up on stage with him. I have to say that being passionate has brought more people together in what I do versus trying to approach things in a sterile, predictable way. I don’t get discouraged when I feel blue or hear about experiences that are happening with employees that may not be very uplifting. I take time to connect, listen, and embrace them emotionally to let them know that someone cares.
People want HR to be personalized. This isn’t the “put the human back in HR” argument. This is the “be a genuine person to the people who come into your life.” This is needed not only in the workforce, but in our profession. So, this week strap on your blues guitar, harmonica or grab the mic and step up and belt it out !! You’ll see how beautiful the blues really are !!
To put a fitting wrap on the passing of B.B. King, I leave you with one of my favorite duets of his with my fave group of all time. Enjoy U2 and B.B. King singing – “When Love Comes to Town.”