"I've had enough of her...get rid of her today."
"We're fallen behind schedule...someone is going to pay!"
"That's ridiculous...go writer her up now. Right now!"
"That's why I have you here...to keep me out of trouble when I have to take action."
"We've lost confidence in you..."
"You're no longer a good fit..."
HR Leadership is Hard
I don't know how many times my colleagues have told me the following..."I could never do your job."
Wait, what? Is HR that horrible? Is it so pressure-packed that our friends and colleagues can't even imagine sitting in our chair?
So, why then do we put ourselves through that pressure-cooker? Why do we put ourselves out there for all the world to see (and sometimes criticize) and frequently thank us for helping them through difficult issues or projects?
I used to have very HR-ish sounding answers, full of cliches and jargon, blah, blah, blah. I don't think I feel that way any longer.
As I...ahem...grow more mature in my career...my answer feels different than all the HR-speak I've pumped out for years.
HR leadership is not the only difficult role out there. And guess what? I've told my colleagues I would not want to do their jobs either. Have you caught yourself saying the same thing?
Leadership to me...HR or otherwise...done authentically, honestly, and frequently with a mouth full of humble pie has to be done deliberately. It has to matter to us as individuals. Of course we want to make our organizations better. Of course we want to create an environment where people want to work and feel as if their contribution to the world matters.
Leadership...for me...is about doing something that is bigger than me, and staying committed to that, even when times get tough once in a while.
I've never heard of any effective leaders that didn't face significant problems in their careers. I'm no different.
But when leadership means doing something bigger than yourself, you don't quit. You don't deflect responsibility or run for cover. You pick yourself up, get your game-face on, and you own every damn bit of the problem. Only then, can you make the course corrections necessary to be successful.
How About You
Which leaders do you look up to? Have their careers been perfect? Have they always made the right call? Or, do they mean so much to you because in spite of their missteps, they never quit? Ever.
I'd love to hear from you.