Thursday, October 20, 2011

HReality Show

Sometimes reality truly beats fantasy.  Particularly in HR.  Consider what happens in "our" world.  First and foremost the overwhelming majority of employees come to work each day, do a fantastic job, and go home to live their lives away from the company.  Except for those that aren't in that "overwhelming majority."  HR has the privilege of spending extra time with that group.

Leadership Matters
Time for me to disclose a bias of mine...I believe that almost every problem organizations face today is based on leadership.  Sure, we deal with difficult employees, but when you consider how small a percentage that is of the overall company employee base, and compare that with the long list of challenges that must be met, you tell me where the responsibility lies?  The employees are not empowered to hire, fire, schedule, purchase, allocate or direct work, or do many of the things that we expect our leaders to do, and do quite well I might add.  In his post How Mindless Leaders Can Create Workplace Problems, Ray Williams describes in detail how detrimental ineffective leadership can be both on the leader and their respective teams.

He Said WHAT?
When I think about some of the most difficult issues I've had to address, the examples at the top of my list are all related to leadership.  Let's face it, too often we hire "superstars" without giving them a chance to learn and grow.  On the job mentoring is fine for that select few that have "natural" leadership abilities (although I would submit that their "natural" abilities are a product of an environment that was chock-full of positive leadership role-models); but, how many leaders have you seen fail over the years that should have been effective?  Why do we continue to allow that to happen?

It's More Than Selection
I'm a huge proponet of behavior-based interviews, but only if they're really, really difficult.  No one has an easy job, and if the candidate is not able to answer challenging questions about themself, how in the world are they going to be able to perform for the company? 

So what should we do when we bring on a new leader and we believe they are going to "hit the ground running?"  I love that many people do you know that slam into the ground and start running at the same time?  I don't know any either.

How About You
What are you going to do about this leadership challenge?  Perhaps the fastest way is to reach out to a leader that you know is struggling and offer to be a sounding-board for them.  This way you're not being critical; in fact, you might be giving them just what they need.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses. 

pics courtesy of kndino and ellisondrive

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