Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Heavy Burden

Having lots of responsibility is a wonderful part of leadership, at least it is for me. The auhority to make my own decisions, execute my vision, and the power to make 'plans to change' into a reality get me fired up.

But sometimes, "being in the know" isn't much fun at all.

When we're made aware of a problem there can be an uncomfortable period of time while we're processing what we've just heard. During this time we usually have many thoughts running through our head as we try to sort out the mess we've just learned about. We're paid to be problem-solvers, and when we receive information that feels more like a burden than just another routine issue, it can be a real challenge to solve that problem quickly. Add to it if the stakes are high (for the person involved, or HR) and it makes the burden so much heavier.

Knowledge is a heavy burden. Developing the skills and having the courage to take action appropriately is not for the faint of heart.  How many times have you heard someone say "I would never want your job in HR?" And how many times have those same people been critical when it comes to other aspects of HR and are quick to add their "advice?" Our jobs are different than most others in our organizations. When we receive information that is troubling for us, it is a unique challenge that most others do not have to deal with. It's our job to figure out the next step. That is our struggle.

How About You
How do you process that initial set of issues that are handed off to HR? Are you paralyzed with insecurity? Anxious about making a bad move politically? Or, do you take some time to understand the circumstances, and then proceed...even if proceeding means heading into a storm?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of texasenterprise


  1. Good post Jay. Add to the problem needing to be solved that much of what HR does in the realm of problem solving is cloaked in maintaining privacy and dignity for the people involved and cue the critics who opine without knowledge.

  2. Thank you Karin. Great point about the sensitivities we must manage on top of the acutal issue, and it makes for a very complicated set of circumstances.

  3. Hey Jay,

    Being in the know is always toughest for me when it involves negative news, like a reduction in force or a developing workplace issue that requires confidentiality like a bad discrimination case...I hate dealing with those...

  4. I couldn't agree more Michael. Those are so difficult to deal with personally, as well as knowing they need to be managed effectively for the organization. It can be a tough balancing act.