I've had the privilege of working with a terrific group of leaders during my career. Some have been referred to as "institutions"...quite a complement. They were relied on for advice, guidance, mentoring, and quite frankly for some good old fashioned help during periods of change. At times I've sought these people out...and now I'm occasionally asked to serve in this capacity (although being referred to as an "institution” is about two decades away if I'm lucky.)
These effective leaders eventually become part of the very foundation of their companies. Imagine that, being part of the rock solid core that holds up everyone else.
Hmm. Becoming part of the foundation of your organization.
I submit that Human Resources should be considered a cornerstone in every organization. That's right, every single one. Maybe that’s a bold statement, or perhaps it’s just empty blog talk, or could it be wishful thinking?
In reality it isn’t any of those things. I believe if HR is going to function effectively it is a requirement.
Calm During the Storm
Every organization has ups and downs. Whether it has to do with the business cycle, leadership changes, or bad luck. Change happens regardless of our best planning efforts, and it is during those awkward periods that I’m convinced Human Resources can play one of its most significant roles.
People need structure and order in their lives, both personally and professionally. How many times have you seen someone struggle at work, and then you’ve quickly asked yourself if they have “something going on at home?” When was the last time you were concerned about an employee and almost involuntarily defaulted to the tired phrase “but they’re under a lot of pressure right now?”
Are these excuses for poor performance? Or, are we trying to work through how we can be more effective as HR leaders? Knowing the drivers of behavior can be very powerful, and can bring clarity to potential solutions much faster. However, before any of this important work can be done, the Human Resources leader must be calm and reliable on a consistent basis.
We cannot afford to have swings in behavior or mood that leave our colleagues or employees wondering if they should reach out to us. Our colleagues should always feel comfortable reaching out to us.
That is how you build a strong foundation based on reliable, consistent, and professional support.
How About You
Who are the institutions in your organization? Has anyone from Human Resources ever made it on to the list? If not…now is the perfect time for you to start.
I’d love to hear from you.
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