Five Habits That Make For a Really Bad HR Pro

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Feb 29, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

I had someone challenge me recently on my performance.

It was good. It made me think about what I was really doing, and how I could get better.

We all need this. We get so caught up in our day-to-day stuff, it’s difficult to sometimes realize what’s holding us back from being even better!

I started to notice habits that creep up from time to time that hinder my own performance. Also, it helped me to recognize habits of my staff that are holding them back from reaching their full potential (oh great, they are saying right now to themselves!).

The bad habits that hold back HR pros

This came full circle when I thought of what it is that makes great HR pros great, and what habits are holding us back as a profession, so here’s my list:

  1. You send an email (or G*d forbid, a text) before walking over to or calling the person you want to get your message to. HR is about relationships. If you don’t like this, you are in the wrong profession.
  2. You have a hiring hang-up. A what? It’s when you won’t hire someone, ever, for some stupid reason – they went to State U., they didn’t shake your hand firmly enough during introductions, they worked at a job less than a year, etc.
  3. You have compensation issues. It drives you crazy that people in other parts of the business make considerably more than you (IT, sales/marketing, etc.) for a similar line-level position. If you want to make more money, then go into one of those areas. Otherwise, shut it.
  4. You have a power complex. A what? You feel good about your “perceived” ability to control someone else’s professional life. “Well, you better never wear those flip flops on a Thursday again or I’m going to have to write you up.”
  5. You believe HR is more important than the rest of the business. But Tim – nothing is more important than our people!  Stop it! Stop focusing on yourself and instead focus on how to help everyone else. That is what makes you valuable. Use your “power” in HR for good, and make everyone else’s life easier.

Do you really want to be a better HR Pro, right now, today? I mean really? I mean actually taking small incremental steps to make you a better HR Pro.

How to be a better HR professional

All right, then do these things and do them often:

  • Go talk face-to-face with your peers in other functions and ask them what is their biggest challenge they are facing. I’m not talking about an HR challenge (although it might be), but an overall challenge. Figure out a way to help them, not as an HR pro, but really help solve their problem (this is what “Business Partner” means for all of you with the HR Business Partner title).
  • Go talk to them again.
  • And again.

But, Tim! I don’t know anything about software architecture. It doesn’t matter. When you talk too those peers in other functions, they’ll tell you what they’re thinking, they will walk you through it, you’ll use your smarts to find ways to be helpful, and most importantly, “they” will feel supported.

And you? Well, you will be a better HR Pro for it.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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