Someone told me the other day I had the worst job on the planet. I find that hard to believe, considering that our planet still has coal mines to mine and campground toilets to clean. It did get me thinking. It’s not that I feel I have the worst job; actually, the opposite is true. But I can understand why others might feel this way. The main reason is that HR deals with conflict. With conflict comes confrontation. And most folks are not on board with confrontation.
I think, however, the best HR professionals understand the necessity of confrontation, and they’ve mastered the hard conversation and tough decision. It’s not like we started our careers looking forward to confrontation. Years ago I wouldn’t even send food back to the kitchen if I didn’t like it. Over time, however, I’ve learned that truth is vital in any successful organization, even if that truth is hard. I have had to tell people they aren’t doing their jobs well. I’ve had to tell people they aren’t succeeding at managing others. I’ve had to tell people to use deodorant. I’ve had to demote and fire. I’ve had to say no to the C Suite and then explain why. If I were afraid to do this, my organization would suffer.
Of course, there are HR people who relish the bullish side of confrontation and view it as a way to advance their own agenda. But I’ve only met one or two of these folks. Mostly, HR people are just very good at saying what needs to be said while maintaining the respect and dignity of others.
I’ve learned over the years that being unafraid of confrontation saves me oodles of time and has increased the quality of my life. Nowadays, I will definitely send food back. And I communicate my expectations and won’t hide what I really think. I suppose it’s not a picnic being married to me, but my husband seems to enjoy it because he’s the same way.
I’m looking around my office right now. Happily, there’s no elephant in the room. My office is a nice size, but I simply don’t have enough space for something that large.