This past week we lost a comic genius in Robin Williams. It’s sad that he passed because he always seemed to bring joy through his work. I’m one of those who “grew up” with Williams from his stand-up comedy, through Mork & Mindy and all of his movies.
I enjoyed his comedy because he looked at things from a slightly different perspective. His views were frenetic and never predictable !! I think that’s one reason that people loved watching him because you never knew what what coming. I think most would agree that they loved watching Williams and his madness, but they would not be comfortable practicing it themselves.
Having a different perspective on things is never popular. The pressure to stay within the norms of interactions, conversations and actions is huge. If you are an outlier, then people tend to look at you as a disruptive force instead of something inviting.
HR needs to learn from Robin Williams in a couple of ways. The first is that we should be the group that brings the different perspective to situations. We have the opportunity to represent both the employee and the leadership in organizations. Too often we are seen as representing management only. We need to be the voice of both sides and that takes some moxie to stand up and not be aligned to the Company only.
Secondly, we can breathe life into our role and our organizations like Williams did for us. Today, people don’t enjoy coming to work. It’s well documented and publicized to the point that you wonder if anyone enjoys work anymore. We can be the overwhelmingly positive model through HR. Each company has it’s struggles and obstacles, but it’s how you approach things.
One of my favorite Williams’ movies was Good Morning, Vietnam. In it, his character takes the horror of the situation people were involved in and looks at it differently. The humor he brought gave the troops a little light despite the situation they were in. I know what we do on a daily basis doesn’t compare to that type of extreme environment, but bringing a positive viewpoint to what we do is sorely needed !!
This week take the step to start having a different perspective in what you do, how you do it and allow others to bring in different viewpoints as well. Also, make sure you’re taking time to laugh and bring a positive perspective to HR and the employees you get to serve.