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 ??

 

5 thoughts on “What Others See . . .”

  1. Too often HR is only called when there is a termination, discipline, or some other ‘problem’. Make the practice of dropping in to provide mundane answers when you can. Even if a simple email will suffice, occasional person to person communication will build the relationship.

  2. Steve, great article. I think the title says a lot. If you take the approach of trying to understand “what others see” you embrace an outside perspective. That perspective allows you to think “how would I like others to see me?” Love that approach.

  3. This is spot on Steve! I have been saying this for years! We must be intentional about changing this perception in our organizations and it must start with us, the HR leaders. Thank you for this post!

  4. I enjoy reading your posts, because you are always focusing on the positive! We need more of this in HR. Look forward to meeting you in person at SHRM and having you sign my book!

  5. I find it exciting to work with my HR clients and am inspired by the work they do, especially with the focus now on more strategic roles of engaging, developing, and retaining talent. Great piece and great information!

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