It doesn’t hurt to be kind

A lesson I’ve learnt as I’ve got older is that kindness is a very different to softness. Too often, images and predetermination of the role of HR professionals can make the young practitioner shy away from kindness, fearing the tag of being soft, weak, indulgent – typical personnel.

This is a complete misunderstanding of kindness.

You can be kind as you break some of the hardest messages to people, deal in the most difficult of situations. You can be kind as you lead others through troubled times. You can be kind in every aspect of your work, no matter how trying or hard.

Being kind is to show consideration for others – that is at the heart of our practice and what we do. The antonym of kind isn’t tough, it is cruel. There is no reason that you cannot be both tough and kind, in fact I’d argue that’s in many ways aspirational.

As we go about our practice, whether you’re a human resources professional, a manager or leader, we can all take time to be a little bit kinder, no matter what the context. By putting ourselves in the position of others, by displaying empathy and understanding, we can help not only to achieve better results, but to learn and grow ourselves.

Kindness in business is not a dirty word, it is the secret that too many overlook.


Tell me more, tell me more…..

I’m interested in who you are.

Not how you come across.

I think that takes a lot.

To look beyond the presentation and understand the person beneath. So much of our lives work on the superficial and we create the back story in our minds that justifies our initial perspectives.


He is…

She is…

I am…

With our 1% of perspective we create 100% of knowledge.


Or searching for understanding?

What would happen if we gave a little more of ourselves? If we invested a little more in helping people to understand us rather than complaining that they don’t?

What would happen if you risked a little more? If you expressed a little more? If you lived a little more?

How much do the people about you know about you? What makes you laugh? Where you’re ticklish? What makes you sad? What gets you up in the morning?

Would that make you a lesser person?

If people knowing more about you makes you more vulnerable, doesn’t it also make you more likeable?

Would you rather be liked for something you aren’t.

Or disliked for something you are?

The world according to HR

1) Our policy will change your behaviour

2) Training adds value……it just does.

3) If it doesn’t work, change the form.

4) Our influence is driven by our self importance.

5) You don’t need money, you need thanks.

6) Pretty pictures make you want to work for us.

7) The less we spend, the more we get back.

8) Managers are the biggest inhibitor of good management.

9) Your commitment is shown by your willingness to accept the staus quo. Until we say so.

10) Do as we say, not as we….write position papers, hold conferences and generally fail to act.

This post was slightly preempted by the wonderful Michael Carty. You can read his work here.

Let it all out

Some people will tell you that there is no place for emotion in the workplace. These are the same people that will tell you that everyone is equal, that fear is irrational and that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The workplace is full of people and people are full of emotions. These are the facts of life.

As a HR professional, there are times when you will see the extreme of emotions, the good, the bad and the downright ugly. You have to be ok with that and you have to react to that with skills that they will never teach you in school.

People laugh, people cry and sometimes, people shout.

Shouting is ok. Shouting is natural. Shouting is an expression of frustration, of need, of incompetence, of disappointment and desire. Shouting isn’t desireable, but it is acceptable.

As a HR professional you are going to get shouted at. Because you’re a safe place, not a soft place, for these emotions to be expressed, because you’re neutral and because you, alone from many others, will tolerate it.

And tolerate it, you must.

Remember, that when someone is shouting at you, they’re doing so because they are hurting. Remember that they don’t care about your process, or policy. Remember that they want to be treated as a human, because the hurt that they are feeling is the hurt that only a human can feel.

Keep calm, listen, keep your voice low, ask questions, seek to understand. Seek to help, remember that you are the person that can resolve the hurt.

That is the value that you can add. And it is the value that often individuals seek from their HR partner. The forms and processes can wait for another day. But the person in front of you can’t. They need you, they need your help, and they need it now.

So what are you waiting for?