Have you heard from your inner judge today? Or maybe it’s the Controller? You know what I’m talking about. These are the little bastards that pop into your head and try to second guess you or sabotage your next great idea. Well these don’t just exist in your head they could be in your HR department too!
Okay stay with me, before you worry about my sanity let me explain. I read an excellent article recently by Shirzad Chamine where he discusses the internal saboteurs that hold us back. These are the thought processes that undermine our success. I find his research and his website very interesting and as I was reading it over I started thinking about the internal sabotage that takes place in HR sometimes.
So what kinds of saboteurs have I seen in the HR space? Well this can vary based on your company but here is what I have seen
1. The Controller – this is the saboteur that tells us we NEED to write up a policy stating employees can’t text at their desk. In reality we really know the only problem is Sheila in accounting who can’t put down her mobile phone. The controller tells us we must have a policy or rule because if we don’t manage every behavior we aren’t really doing our jobs right?
2. The Stickler – I think this one exists because some organizations have a negative view of HR. “Oh HR can never get my job title right” Whether these issues were actually HR’s fault or not, there is now a perfectionist/stickler mentality in HR.
So what is wrong with trying to get everything right? We fail to ship. We get so concerned with getting every possible aspect right and are so worked up over past mistakes that we don’t ship. Or when we do ship the product has been watered down and doesn’t resemble the great idea it once was.
3. The Pleaser – Another name for this could be the enabler. I think this develops because HR frequently has to justify itself to the company. Our contribution to the bottom line isn’t always clear; so sometimes we take on the role of pleaser or the enabler, we clear the road blocks to gain acceptance.
Sometimes this is a good thing (cutting through red tape to get a great employee their much deserved increase), other times not so good (cutting the red tape so a less qualified person can get hired). We shouldn’t justify our existence by enabling bad stuff.
It can be difficult to get away from these saboteurs because there may be organizational pressure or expectations to behave a certain way. For example, let’s say your company wants to open social media to employees. Your CEO comes to you and says “write a policy.” You come up with a basic simple policy but then your team starts second guessing and analyzing it. Before you know it the policy has morphed into a 5 page document with two appendixes!
Before this happens, stop yourself, recognize the saboteur and move on. You don’t need a fifteen page social media policy…really you don’t. And guess what? Everyone in and out of HR will be secretly relieved too.