Taking the Gloves Off: Leaders and HR

Human resources can be complex, confusing and exasperating. Communications between leaders and their human resources department don't have to be.

Unfortunately, they are.  

Photo credit: iStock

Photo credit: iStock

It's time to step out of the ring and start working together.

When human resources professionals live and breathe human resources everyday, they forget what it's like outside the bubble. It's easy for them to judge non-HR leaders harshly. "Don't."  Instead, help them help you. 

  • Proactively anticipate needs, develop training resources, analyze data and ask leader what you can do for them.
  • Serve as strategic advisers to leaders. Lead effectively, help leaders with workforce planning and creatively work within business constraints to improve how they do business.
  • Give leaders a chance, you will be pleased with the results.  

When leaders stay as far away from the human resources bubble as they can, it's easy for some to abdicate their leadership responsibility and to judge human resources staff harshly. "Don't."  Instead, help them to help you.

  • Proactively identify needs, ask for the HR training and resources you need.
  • Listen to the options, advice and consequences. It is your responsibility to ensure your decisions are informed ones. Ask the tough questions and expect researched responses.
  • Give HR a chance, you will be pleased with the results

Ensuring people come to work under the best conditions and are able to perform job they were hired to do is a joint venture between leadership and human resources. Respect goes  a long way to helping each other find ways to get the results the organization needs.

This is not personal. It's business and you each have a job to do.

If you are a leader or human resource professional uncomfortable or bothered by this, no worries, your discomfort or unease will be short-lived. Organizations staffed with leader and human resources staff unwilling or unable to do this will find ones who can.

Now go out there and make me proud.

Taking the Gloves Off: Leaders and HR first appeared on lisarosendahl.com.

Trust and HR

The workplace today is more challenging than ever before. Leaders determined to address these challenges must first assess reality. And that includes looking in the mirror.



In Bracing for Change, a report from the Partnership for Public Service, federal human capital leaders were surveyed about talent management challenges facing their organizations. Each chief human capital officer (CHCO) was asked about the issues they faced. Lack of key HR competencies made the list.

When asked how agency leadership viewed it’s HR staff, 42% of the chief human capital officers (CHCO) surveyed said they and their staff were viewed as a trusted business advisor to a “great” or “very great” extent – down from two years ago (46%). However, 25 % said “not at all” or “to a limited extent,” up 8 percentage points from 2 years ago, a significant shift. The percentage of CHCOs who said leadership viewed them as a trusted advisor to a “moderate extent” (33%) was down 3 percentage points over that same period.

That's alarming. And it's real.

We live in a world where the end justifies the means: professionals overstate accomplishments, students inflate GPAs or fabricate degrees, employees use sick leave when they are not really sick and human resource leaders are not immune.

Before you say, "not me," know that it is the collective all of us. What have you observed leaders do that jeopardize trust? What are you going to do today to restore trust in your organization?