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What makes a good leader? I can tell you from experience, knowledge, research and observation. Even going back to my pre-Human Resource time, I knew when I was working for a good leader and when I was working for a tool. Yeah that’s a technical HR term for a, uh well tool.
Leadership styles vary and one doesn’t trump the other; it’s subjective to the culture, mission, vision and goal of the company. Style is important but equally important is that the leader understands what is and what isn’t needed. Leaders must be honest when analyzing the current situation, assessing the good, the bad and ugly. They can’t be afraid to admit problems or weaknesses and must be willing to make hiring choices that address those areas. For instance, if you need a leader to be out front, to connect for your brand with the audience, but that’s not strength, as long as they are willing to allow someone else to perform those public relations tasks, it can work. Need an example? How about Trump? That’s a brand; his name is on many products some on which he doesn’t run the daily operations. He licenses his name to many of those products. He is the face and is paid a fee for the privilege.
Here’s my take on leadership, things you need to have:
Vision/Passion – a vision of where you want to take your business. Set a long range goal, and map a plan of action to get there. I included passion here because I believe the leader has to be passionate about the business and its ultimate vision/goal. They’re going to be involved in the process, so then need to be passionate. If they have the passion they’ll care more about the outcome; therefore decisions are made with more thought and insight. The leader may not know exactly how to get to the goal, but must be willing to explore options, ideas and concepts of others to get to the vision.
Belief –The leader has got to believe in the product and the system. By believing in the goal, product and system, they must also believe in the employees that will perform the essential job functions that are designed to achieve the goal. As part of that, the leader can’t be afraid of feedback from the employees, and consider their suggestions, as long as they’re constructive and lead to the end result. If the leader does not believe in the success of the process, the product and goal, why would consumers and investors?
Adaptability – good leaders have to change with the environment, technology, consumer and workforce trends. They have to use technology in ways that give the audience a way to call to action. They have to use new ways to recruit and retain talent. And depending upon the labor force, competition, technology and the economy, they may have to adjust some short term goals. Must adapt!
Attitude and likability are important, ideally you would love to have a leader with a great attitude and very likable. But some very likable people just aren’t good leaders and vice versa.
Connection – The final “thing” a leader must have is the ability to connect to the customer. It’s my observation that this one is the most important. Your leader has to connect with the employees, consumers and product in a way that compels them to support your business. They must either connect directly or facilitate that connection.
For example, Nike’s founder does not connect personally and most consumers of their product probably don’t know his name or what he looks like. He rarely does interviews and makes view television appearances yet, the connection to Nike and the consumer is undeniable. If you don’t know, now you know. Now get connected!
When I learned about the current Carnival of HR topic; showing the love and shouting out someone else’s blog, I was interested but not quite sure how to articulate what I wanted to say and how. Nevertheless here it goes; Most of you know I am new to this blog community and trying to blaze a trail without reinventing the wheel.
Well in the infancy stages, while researching human resource blogs, I came across the EVIL HR Lady. The moniker was enough to intrigue me and her articles and postings were pretty good too. They were thought provoking, insightful and informative. At the time, I was still not sure if this was something that I wanted to be involved in and not sure if blogs really had an impact. Until one day, I read a post and the subsequent comments, the post was about bullying. The article made excellent points about passing legislation regarding bullying but the reaction was down right, wrong! It got ugly, and personal. I found myself awaiting her response to these personal attacks.
Finally there it was, she allowed all the comments to come in and take shots, uncalled for shots, before she responded. This let me know she did not lose her temper and lash back causing a confrontational exchange. She responded with intelligence, respect and just a bit of clarity. Clearly she handled it in a very professional manner, far better than I could have handled it, which taught me a lesson. Not everyone is going to agree with you, and more over not everyone is going to like you, or going to play nice. I saw for myself that blogs can generate conversation, critical thinking and controversy.
I gained more respect for the Evil HR Lady; I believe it’s your response to adversity in life that defines you. Some of my all-time favorite people were disrespected in the same way for posing a different point of view, or representing another perspective. And that’s how I knew I was doing the right thing. Hey! Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady, thanks, you helped me to blog.
Man, I read a lot! I feel like I’m back at Ohio State, reading and reading and thinking and thinking but I love Human Resources, so it all good. I notice elements of Human Resources in many aspects of my day to day life, for example, when I’m driving and someone passes me who is obviously speeding; I think, gas is too high to be speeding like that. (economics) Or if I go someplace and receive poor service, I think; who trained them, I wonder if the manager knows about this poor performance? (training/development/feedback/leadership) I could go on but that’s not the POINT. Which brings me to my point, kinda…I read so much stuff from so many others I often wonder, what’s their point? Not so much as what is the point of the post, but of the blog? What are trying to say? Who is your audience? This is ironic because I am asked these questions all the time. But I’m asked by those you either already know Human Resources or do not THINK they can benefit from my blog.
There are some great professional blogs out there. I read a lot of them. What I’ve found lately, is that everyone is asking everyone to read everything post on this or that, but do they read them. People are busy, you got to work, meetings, family, reality TV and pictures of celebrities to look at, am I right? Uh well, let’s move on. So it’s understandable, I mean there is a lot of information to read.
When I read these things; blogs, articles, news boards, books, and even working with current college students, I have to remind myself, what’s my point and who am I trying to reach. Here’s the answer; I have immediate and ultimate goals. My immediate goal is to network. That’s a short answer but to expand on that, I want to reach as many people as I can, in order to disseminate, receive and share helpful professional information. I hope it helps the “average joe” become a better applicant and worker, by being prepared. I hope it helps HR Professionals in their day-to–day practices by reminding them that we are the ones making the critical decisions that bring about change in an organization. It’s up to us to change the negative perception of Human Resources, and we can do it and still protect the company and still protect confidentiality. I think sometimes when you are around like minded people and you all are saying the same thing, its easy to become comfortable and disregard different experiences. When someone has a different opinion from my own, I examine it more. Is it truthful, hurtful, helpful, uncomfortable or just something I don’t want to hear. I think that’s where growth is obtained.
So I may have to drop some motivational or inspirational posts. I may have to show off that high powered knowledge and vast experience but it’s all part of the goal. And that’s my point, so if you don’t know, now you know.
I grew up in Memphis, TN., until I went to undergraduate school in Iowa, I had never spent much time out of the south. Even now as I think about it, most family vacations were in the south; Gatlinburg, Orlando, Hot Springs, St. Louis, and Atlanta, never anything too far north. So there I was, a young man from the south, in Iowa adjusting to a different climate, culture and religion. Did I mention I went to a Catholic University? Okay, so here it is in February, and I am walking across campus, and I see a classmate approaching. She says “Hey Chris!” “Hi” I responded but I noticed and was taken aback because she had something on her forehead. But I didn’t say anything because I was kind of shocked.
As I continue on, I saw more and more students with this “smudge” on their forehead. I get to class, and I sit next to a buddy; he doesn’t have it on his head. I said to him, “Hey, why does everyone have dirt on their forehead?” He laughed and said, “Dude! its Ash Wednesday, you thought that was dirt?” He proceeds to school me on the matter. I know, embarrassing right? And did I mention I had a work-study job in the school’s Chapel reporting to a Nun. Good ole Sister Judy. I learned a lesson that day, there is a big ole world out with a lot of different people in it.
For those of you who have given something up for Lent, or have to help out with the Easter Egg Hunt or just plan on eating a big Easter Meal and chilling out, HAPPY EASTER WEEKEND.
Ever seen that show on ABC titled “What would you do?” You know the one when they put people in crazy awkward situations and see what would the people around them do? The subjects are usually actors placed in real life settings to gauge the reactions and actions of regular citizens. I have attached a video from an episode dealing with discrimination. The video is kind of long, if you don’t have a lot of time then skip to the 4:00 minute mark. Basically someone is trying to apply for work, and is denied. The most stunning and embarrassing part; there are 3 different, Human Resource people, who witness the discrimination and what they do next is totally shocking!
We try to teach diversity and nondiscrimination but are we practicing it? I’ve experienced a dose of insensitivity from someone on Twitter. Someone I follow as part of my professional HR network. They sent a tweet that was very, very offensive. If I followed 50 Cent, Lil Wayne or Snoop Dog, I would have been ready for it, but this is supposed to be HR Professionals. Yeah, I said it. What happens in this video is no different; very insensitive, embarassing and unprofessional, especially from Human Resources. Not all folks in Human Resources discriminate and are insensitive, just the ones in this video and that one on Twitter.