Courage is the missing ingredient in HR

Joining the discussion is important and there are those within the HR community who have awesome ideas about we should be operating. Over time (some) people become very popular, not for their action but for their ideas. They speak at conferences, get on the circuit and begin this journey of sharing with those in the trenches their effective strategies for “growing talent” or “executing HR Strategy”, with very little practical understanding of the emotion and risk behind those recommendations.

It’s very glamorous to be a Thought Leader. You know what’s not glamorous? Being an Action Leader. Executing these great ideas takes courage, commitment, conquering risk and putting yourself in the firing line. We need everyone to move on from joining the conversation to going and facing their fears. You can talk about it all you like, but the second you get the opportunity to try it – do it. Do it and then talk about it – feed the conversation with heart felt and messy experience not just ideas. Tell me about the heartache of launching a program to develop leaders that fell on its face – tell me how you shook it off and tried again.

Tell me about the time you removed traditional performance appraisals in favour of something else; instead of woefully writing about how much you dislike them. Show me the eLearning module that you put together that defied expectations and share your tail of heroic activism as you fought for change.

Leave out the buzz words and jargon – give to us straight and please do not use the word HR Disruption.

The one thing our industry is really missing is courage. Let’s stop talking about courage and actually be courageous. Let’s make the discussion the safe place build our confidence and bring Action Leading to life!

I want to hear about your most courageous moments, big and small. We are excellent at sharing ideas – the HR community is amazing at that. We aren’t so good at the courageous execution of our ideas for a whole host of reasons – starting with the fact that we are human. We have bills to pay, families to support, holidays to finance and dreams to fund – so staying in the safe space of discussion is easier.

But if we want to change the way HR is perceived, which we need to – we can’t do it without courage. It’s just not a thing that’s going to happen for us without it.

Start small – you don’t need to change everything overnight. It could be as simple as researching a new software to relieve the administrative burden or making the time to prioritize what matters most to your role.

Like all habits, they become second nature with practice. Start small and build your way to full-blown courage. It’s a journey we are all on – you’re not alone in this.

A place I used to work for used to describe this as getting out on the skinny branches – get on out there!

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