What Others See . . .

How many times have you walked into as an HR pro, and you felt the room grow cold and silent? If the answer is once, that’s TOO many !! The old standby you hear from HR folks is that when you walk into a room and people audibly say, “Ssshhhh, here comes HR !!”

Sadly, when that occurs (and again, once is too often), we tend to drop our shoulders and our gaze to our feet in defeat. We don’t feel that we can respond because we’re afraid that we’ll hurt someone’s feelings. Don’t we have feelings as well? Aren’t you tired of this being the response when we show up? Also, this isn’t just with front line staff, this response happens at all levels of organizations up to executives. This has to stop and I want to give you some tools to make that happen.

The first thing to think about is what others see when you’re coming.

I’m not suggesting that you become someone you’re not. In fact, you should be genuine and true to yourself always. HR people lack organizational confidence at times. We strive to “get along” which is admirable. Getting others to be collaborative is effective in any company. But, forsaking your identity is not. Everyone in HR has great things to offer. The key is to step forward and out of the shadows on purpose.

Secondly, be positive in your approach.

I’ll be honest, we may have earned the negative response we receive from others. HR has tended to be more based on restricting others with a wide variety of do’s and don’ts feeling that this is our duty and how we add value. It just isn’t true and this approach has never worked. Never !!

So, be intentionally positive with others. See the best in them and make sure that your focus is to lift others up. It’s odd to even have to suggest this. However, being positive takes action and it’s your choice. Wouldn’t it be great that when others saw you approaching, they had a positive response first?

Finally, own who you are and what you do.

I know that I’ve written this before, and we’ve made great progress. But, I still meet many HR people who feel that this is just beyond their reach. You have to believe me that it’s not. Being self-aware and self-assured are great attributes of all leaders. I hope my peers understand that we can, and should, lead in our organizations and our profession. We will always have a place as long as we stay relevant. Own your role. It’s what other’s do naturally and it’s time we took our place.

This coming week I am going to the SHRM Annual Conference (#SHRM18) where I will get to meet and interact with thousands of HR people. I can’t wait !! It will be my goal to see them in a positive light when they’re coming down the hallway. I will do my best to connect with them and re-energize them so that when they return to their workplace, they rock it !! It should be our goal for HR to act, lead and be seen positively. Will you join me ??

 

To Blog Or . . .

. . . not to blog. That is the question. Whether, ’tis better to keep your thoughts to yourself. Or, to take the chance to put yourself out there for people to critique.” (With apologies to William Shakespeare)

I’ve been blogging on a weekly basis for over seven years now. It’s something that I truly enjoy and hope to continue for years to come. Sure, it’s tough to come up with new “material” all the time, but that is part of the challenge. I have a handful of friends who have been blogging for longer than I have, but that number continues to unfortunately shrink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I understand that it takes a ton of energy to write – more than most people think. I also get that you can tire of blogging, lose interest in the passion you once had, or you have other circumstances in life that pull you in new directions. I’ve noticed a few new movements in social media that honestly excite me instead of discourage me !!

Podcasts – More and more of the “original” HR bloggers are now starting podcasts. They are still sharing their voice, but in a different format. Podcasts are fantastic and diverse. You can find them on HR, business, the arts, etc. It’s a great way to broaden what you know. I hope that these friends continue to blog, but as long as they’re sharing – I’m good.

New Voices – There are many new voices who have begun to blog and they are in various stages of their careers. I love hearing what they have to say and their perspective. Yes, they’re covering some topics that have been blogged about in the past, but so what ?? I have added many of these new bloggers to my Blog Roll and I encourage you to check them out.

HR Conferences – There have been bloggers who have attended HR conferences for years. They are brought in to provide coverage and share what they’ve heard in sessions. It’s a great way to get content out. I’m especially excited about the #SHRM18Blogger squad that has been convened this year. They have been very visible and active to bring the event to life even before it occurs in June.

There is one trend I do not like to see, and that is when I hear about people who demand absolutes from blogging. The idea of “for and against” has rarely yielded anything positive. The reason for that is that if YOU are for something, then you see is has value. If it runs contrary to your beliefs or how you practice HR, then you tear it down.

I’d like to suggest that we stick with a better approach and that is that blogs “inform” us. They always have and that is why blogging still intrigues me !! I want to be informed of views that both align and divert from mine. I love reading the blogs of many of my peers to learn from them. I don’t agree with all of them, but they give varying perspectives. That is the beauty of sharing thoughts and ideas.

I’d encourage you to start a blog if you want to share your voice. I’d encourage you to read other’s work so that you can see where people are coming from and be more informed. One other item . . . I encourage you to share the work of others.

I know I’ve stated this many times before. In order to shatter the social media/blogging echo chamber, share the blogs of others. It’s not enough to “write into the wind”. I love to see other’s work shine and get spread around the globe. We have the means to do it. Please join me in this effort.

Blogging connects us and makes us a stronger HR community. The stronger our HR Tribe is, the more we influence the industry and organizations. I look forward to seeing what continues to be written !! I choose to blog.

Image from the Editorial Cartoonists – Cox & Forkum

 

Just Ask !!

This past week I had a business owner from another town reach out to me for advice. That may not seem odd to you, but this isn’t that common for most folks. Let me give you a little background. We’ve met once or twice in passing at HR conferences. I think he’s a great businessperson with a heart to help others. We’ve never worked on anything directly, and he is not a vendor that I use.

Now, if you don’t know this, I’m a massive extrovert !! I thrive on human interaction from any front and in any circumstance. I don’t know if they make an “E” big enough on the Meyers-Briggs to describe how I enjoy interacting with others. So, when this business owner reached out, I felt it was normal. I was geeked to see what he needed and if I could help.

I responded to the e-mail he had sent me and then followed up with a phone call. He happened to be at a conference in New York, but said he’d give me a ring during a break. We connected later in the day and had a great conversation. I was able to hear what he was facing, give him some ideas and resources and ease his concern about the people situation he was addressing.

Please note a critical point here. It didn’t matter that this business owner reached out to me specifically. The key is – He was willing to ask for help !!

Again, we aren’t that familiar with each other. He needed someone to talk to, and he liked my approach on things from what I’ve written and what he’s heard from my presentations. That takes quite a leap of faith to reach out, and I admire him for taking a chance to do it.

I think it’s a brilliant example that we should use ourselves personally and professionally. Too often we feel that we must be fiercely independent in all we do. That is silly, selfish and naive. The myth of self-sufficiency in the workplace is what leads to isolation, separation and silos.

There are far too many people who want to ask questions, but they are hesitant to do so because they’re afraid you won’t take the time out of your day to answer them. It’s true. We would rather struggle and eek through our circumstances instead of asking a question because we’re afraid to impose on others. That breaks my heart.

You have the time to help others. This isn’t a “job duty” or part of your some insurmountable burden. I get discouraged when I see others who won’t take time to invest in other humans. You have to understand that you’re missing out when you can’t take the time to answer questions.

The 15 minutes I spent answering questions for this business owner will hopefully get him out of the funk he was in so he can move forward. THAT is worth my time. I know that we don’t work together. But, I want to see others succeed in what they do. It may sound Utopian, but I’m good with that.

I urge people to connect with other HR people intentionally on a daily basis. I do it through this blog and social media platforms. I continue to fight against the tide of people who want to do things just on their own. I do this because I have questions, and I relish the chance to reach out and ask someone for their insight and advice.

Always remember two thingsĀ  . . .

We’re better as professionals and as humans when we’re intentionally connected, and

We’re better when we have the courage to break out of our independence and ask questions !!

This week take the steps to connect with others and remember to Just Ask !!