Be the Bridge !!

When Winter rears it’s ugly head, it often forces you inside. That can either be insufferable, or a chance to get indoor projects done that you haven’t been able to get to. We’re on the projects end of the spectrum. This weekend’s project was to paint our master bedroom. I looked forward to it because I love to paint !! I mean it. I love painting indoors because it turns out to be me and my iPod.

Yes, I said iPod. You see I have an iPod Classic with 12,400+ songs loaded onto it. When I turn it on and hit shuffle, I escape into every song, and it makes any task I take on seem easy. What could easily become mundane because of its difficulty, now becomes lively and time flies. As I dipped the roller into the tray, I heard the beautiful voice of Art Garfunkel of the immortal duo Simon & Garfunkel. His beautiful lilting voice started singing the beautiful ballad “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Every time I hear this song played, I get misty. I really do. It’s a gorgeous melody with haunting lyrics that hit you right from the start. Here’s a snippet . . .

“When you’re weary, feeling small; When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all”

The song talks about someone willing to be present for someone who’s going through something difficult. The imagery is that they are willing to be the bridge for their friend in order for them to reach the other side of whatever they’re facing.

The reason this song resonates so much for me is that this how I view HR. I truly feel that we need to be the bridge for others who need it. I know that this runs contrary to the current trend to keep a clear distance from people. Please note that I agree with, and understand, that there are boundaries that should always be respected. However, people are coming to work every day aching. I feel they don’t share what’s going on either because they don’t feel they’ll genuinely be heard, or they feel that they’ll be blown off because their personal situation isn’t “work.”

How long can we continue this disinterested stance and feel that we’re being effective? I can hear the resistance that is rising even as I type this. If we don’t watch it, HR is going to make itself so disconnected that there won’t be a reason for us to exist. We have to step in, reach out and be the bridge for others. You have to trust me, from personal experience, that whenever I’ve been a bridge builder great results have occurred. It hasn’t always meant that the person’s situation was completely addressed or that they even stayed with the company. However, the personal touch that they yearned for occurred and started something positive in the midst of the “troubled waters” they were facing.

I also think HR people stop being a bridge themselves because they’ve had a bad experience and have been burnt. This never good and is a definite risk. I do think it’s a risk worth taking though because this is more of an exception than the rule. Another factor that makes HR pros hesitate in being bridge builders is that we don’t have someone who will be our bridge when we face difficulties ourselves.

I know that I seem to be shouting a similar message over and over, but HR people need to understand that our peers can be a bridge. I have many very close friends that I can reach out to who also reach out to me. It’s not some hokey, professional camaraderie. They are genuine relationships that have developed over social media and also in person.

If you don’t have HR peers who are bridge builders, you need to find ones. I will also put this out there . . . I’m willing to be the first person to reach out. You don’t have to face what you’re doing alone. I mean it. You reach out and I’ll be there.

It’s time for us to realize that we have an incredible opportunity in front of us. Please join me in reaching out. Be the bridge !!

Image from Successories

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