It is pretty tough to tell a new entrant to the profession this, but a little advice can go a long way,
Chances are that most managers you meet are going to think you’re an idiot.
You then have the choice whether you are going to confirm that view for them or shatter their preconceptions. And in essence that differentiates a good HR pro from a bad one.
Is this a harsh view? I think we need to accept that most people in the workplace have a pretty dim view of HR. I was having dinner with friends a few weeks back and we were talking about the Easter holidays, I explained that I didn’t have any time off because “the HR Director is an idiot”. Someone who didn’t know what I did replied, “well aren’t they all?” And then just last week I was asked to look at an HR related work document for someone. When I explained that the tone of it was a little “aggressive” the response I got was, “well that seems to be the way with every HR person that we deal with”.
We can try to explain this away, to pretend that this is “them” not “us” and that somehow the public perception is based on these rogue practitioners that appear at night, do bad stuff and then leave us to clear it all up. Or we can do one of our very favourite things and blame our underperformance on line manager incompetence.
But in essence, the perceptions of the profession will only be changed by a thousand small actions each and every day. Actions that delight, surprise and add tangible value to each and every manager that we meet. They will only be changed if WE change our mindset and approach and decide that we need to do things a different way.
Start off by remembering that most people will think you’re an idiot when you first meet them. If you can change their view by the time you meet them again…..you’re getting somewhere.