You’re an HR leader in an important meeting with your peers. The conversation is going on around you. They’re not looking to you for input. You have some concerns about the direction this is going in. But, you can’t get a word in edgewise. You’re invisible until they ask you to act on the decisions they made.
Encounters like these can shut you down, make it difficult to have the courage to speak up, to push back, to have a voice. You’re standing on the sidelines, watching, safely, in the shadows.
While HR did see a rise in having a seat at the table in planning and execution of business strategy in McLean & Company’s 2022 HR Trends Report, much of that involvement was due to pandemic related challenges and shifts organizations were forced to make… the crisis at the time.
Since the pandemic, HR’s chair at the table is being pushed back, as many of those issues aren’t as pressing as they were before. Now, commanding leaders’ attention are the continued supply chain shortages, inflation, and day-to-day operational issues that arise.
Perceptions of HR’s effectiveness in dealing with the pandemic did improve in the HR Trends study. However, HR rated themselves more highly than non-HR professionals, a gap that remains significant.
Are you ready to change these perceptions?
That will take courage.
3 Steps to SCALE Your Courage & Influence
You can become more influential, gain more respect, and be invited to pull that seat up even closer to the table? Here’s how:
- Embrace the challenge
Fear will often push you to avoid a challenge rather than run toward it. For firefighters, the best way to fight a fire sometimes is to go into the burning building. When you’re facing a situation that is difficult or uncomfortable, study it, understand it the best you can, and decide to find a way through it rather than allowing it to diminish you.
Courage materializes when you don’t allow yourself to sit in fear waiting for that feeling to go away. Use fear to inspire action. You don’t have control over everything, and some things are outside of your understanding. To reduce the risk and fear, prepare. Make a plan, anticipating what may go wrong, mitigating what you can, and putting contingency plans in place for the inevitable.
- Don’t go it alone
Humans are not self-sufficient. When you’re afraid, anxious, and feeling vulnerable, you’re often too embarrassed to ask for help. However, these are the times when you need support from others the most. Share what you’re trying to accomplish. Work with others to develop innovative and effective solutions. Trying to be courageous on your own is hard, lonely, and defeating. When you reach out to the community around you, you have an abundance of resources to tap into.
Lead With Courage
To be a courageous HR leader, you have to step out of your comfort zone. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Change happens not from doing the same thing over and over. You know what happens in that case… you get the same result.
Courage means being willing to step out in vulnerability, taking a risk when the outcome is uncertain, having the guts to face tough situations. Courage is not arrogance, trying to convince others that you have all the answers. Courage is a willingness to engage someone with whom you have yet to build social capital, being open to different perspectives, opinions and solutions, and constructively working through the messiness to achieve the best outcomes. You’re willing to own the consequences or the glory.
Vincent van Gogh reminds us, “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
What’s at stake for you?