At some point in your career, you will inevitably encounter a situation where the most important aspect of your job will be supporting someone else – maybe one person, maybe a department, maybe your entire organization.
Here’s the thing. If you don’t first take care of yourself, you will be in no position to take care of anyone else. This is the reason for the flight attendant saying to put the oxygen mask on yourself before placing on anyone else.
Understand that it’s not selfish to practice self-care – or whatever you call it. You can’t bring your best if you don’t first take care of yourself.
You are also showing your team and your org that you are human, humans require care, and it’s not only safe for you to be human, but it’s safe for others as well, and you will support them as they care for themselves as well.
It is our responsibility as leaders to not only take care of ourselves, but to also create that safety for others to understand the strength both required and displayed at recognizing when you need to take a breath.
Your breath may not look the same as someone else’s. What refills and renews you is personal, and what works for you may not work for someone else, but it’s not for them – it’s for you.
Take care. Love yourself enough to be healthy to help others. You have no idea how much they need you – even if they don’t ask.
I mentioned earlier that this was my 4th time attending SHRM National. I can tell you without hesitation that it was by far the BEST SHRM National conference, yet!
Many of my fellow #SHRM19Bloggers have shared their experience at #SHRM19, and I have enjoyed reading each and every post that I have seen so far.
My reflection on #SHRM19 is not just on the content of the sessions, but on the people and the connections. One of the main reasons that I value attending SHRM National is the sheer volume of passionate HR professionals in one place!
This year, there was a creative addition in the Connection Zone called Convos & Coffee. Not only was there a seating area for conversations, a full service coffee bar, and all the fixings for your favorite coffee drinks, there was an interactive floor with conversation starters! There were conversation starters in bubbles that moved around, and if you tapped on it, you could drag the conversation starter to the group you were standing in. It was a very popular area, needless to say, and it was interesting to hear the different perspectives to some of the questions. Kudos to the SHRM19 planning committee for coming up with such a creative way to spark conversations!
Another area for connection was the Volunteer Leaders lounge. If you are not a volunteer for your state or local chapter, I can’t think of a better way to give back to this profession we love. The staff in the Volunteer Leaders lounge worked tirelessly to ensure that the visitors to the lounge truly had a VIP experience, and, speaking of VIP – if you checked into the lounge, you received a special VIP tag that had some pretty neat perks, such as reserved seating in general sessions, etc. We definitely do not volunteer for any of these perks, but it was nice to see SHRM recognize and reward the passion dedicated to these individuals.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Bloggers Lounge as a special area of connection. Andrew Morton (who is transitioning to a new role in SHRM and will be sincerely missed) and Mary Kaylor (completely selfless and wonderful human being) created the ideal environment for connection, creativity, and building lasting relationships. Special thank you to these two and their team. It was a tremendous experience, and in a conference with 20,000 people, having the opportunity to connect with the fellow bloggers in a quiet (sometimes) setting was invaluable.
Oddly enough, the highlight of SHRM19 this year was not the amazing keynotes. I do love Brené Brown. I have written about her before, and I have seen her speak previously. She is amazing, and if we could all do one small change each day to shift our mindset to align more with her Dare to Lead model, we would be much better leaders for our teams. There is always room for improvement. When you stop improving, you stop growing. I, for one, always want to strive to be better than the person I was yesterday. If you did not get a chance to attend this year’s conference, and you are interested in incorporating the model, she is giving it away on her website!
At the end of the day, your experience at a conference as large as SHRM National is what you make of it. The sessions were wonderful and well thought out. I highly recommend purchasing the SHRM eLearning service so that you have access to the sessions that you may have missed due to competing time slots or being full. Bonus: you can share what you learned with others or just watch/listen back sessions that were especially powerful to you. Bonus 2: you have access to other content, not just the conference you recently attended.
If you haven’t attended before, have I convinced you to join us at #SHRM20 in San Diego, yet?! Click Here for early bird registration, and I’ll see you there!
Disclaimer: I had the honor of being a guest of Namely to attend their conference, #HRRedefined2019. As a guest, I was compensated for being there. This blog post is entirely my content – hence taking 4 weeks to find the time to put it together…
I was impressed with the speaker lineup for the conference being so young. One person that I had no idea would be there was none other than Valorie Kondos Field – “Miss Val”. She captivated the room and kept us all fully engaged and entertained.
Miss Val shared a story of her battle with cancer and her treatment. She called her chemo treatment the “chemo spa” because a spa is a place you go to feel better. Talk about perspective! She could have chosen to be discouraged and depressed because she was receiving chemo treatment, and instead she saw it as the thing that would make her better, and she embraced it.
How amazing would our own workplaces be if we were to adapt this mindset? Instead of I “have to” do something, start saying I “get to” do it. It’s a privilege. Not everyone has the same opportunities that you may have – even if the opportunity is waking up another morning and breathing in and out.
I say it often, but I truly mean it. The only person that you can control is yourself. Why not starting with being more intentional in your thoughts and your mindset?
I challenge you to bring optimism and positivity to work tomorrow, and I’d love to hear about your experience!
I had the extreme fortune of attending #Workhuman this week in Nashville. I am very fortunate to work for an organization that believes in professional growth and supports me attending conferences like this one. I know that not all organizations share this same sentiment or simply don’t have the budget to send their leaders to conferences for professional development, and I am grateful.
I attended every keynote at the conference, and I’m sure every attendee took away something different and certain aspects resonated more than others. For me, it was a theme of resilience and grit. Resilience resonated with me so much, in fact, that it was my word that I had engraved on the leather key fob as a conference attendee.
While I was most excited to see Brené Brown (and she was fan-freaking-tastic), I was most impacted by Viola Davis‘s story. The spectacular Steve Pemberton, Chief People Officer for Workhuman, formerly known as Globoforce. Steve’s story is all about overcoming obstacles, so it was no surprise that he was the one chosen to interview Viola in the closing keynote on the Workhuman stage.
I knew a little bit of Viola’s story already. She was featured in Braving the Wilderness, my first exposure to Brené Brown, so I knew she had grown up in abject poverty in Rhode Island, her father was an abusive alcoholic, and that she didn’t let it define her or live in fear or shame. What I didn’t know, was how she continued to overcome no matter the obstacles.
In her interview with Steve, Viola shared how she had received a hand up, a wonderful opportunity to attend a performing arts school via a scholarship because someone believed in her. The school, however, was not located remotely close to where she lived. She had to leave 3 hours early and take 3 different buses to get there. She was poor, you’ll remember, so she didn’t just pay 3 bus fares and go to school. She shared that sometimes she would walk the first leg of the trip to get to the second bus, then walk the last leg. The school, like many, had a late policy. There was no consideration of the why, if she was late, she was late.
What struck me the most about this was the grit and determination that Viola had to make it work. She could have turned down the scholarship, citing the commute, waiting on something closer or waiting on someone else to solve the distance problem for her. She could have stopped going when it got tough. So many times she could have given up, and yet she kept going and worked hard to succeed – despite all odds.
How many times in our own organizations or households have we seen opportunity squandered or explained away because it was going to be too much work or sacrifice our time? The world is a much better place because of people like Viola sharing their stories, and I can only imagine the impact that she will continue to have.
Last month, I celebrated my 1-year Bloggiversary. Yes, I know I’m late. A lot has been happening!
This blog started as an outlet to share thoughts, tips, suggestions, notions. I never could have imagined how well-received it would be, or that it would lead to so many amazing opportunities.
The most exciting opportunity is the invitation that I received to be on the #SHRM19Blogger team! You may or may not have noticed that the day I received the invite, I confirmed that I was permitted to share and then told everyone I know. It’s a big deal, and I’m incredibly excited to be a part of this amazing team! Special thank you to Mary Kaylor. She’s fantastic if you haven’t met her!
The most rewarding aspect of this blog, however, is when employees or friends tell me that they are reading it. Not long after I started with my current company, one of the employees told me that she started reading my blog and was excited about the direction I was going to lead HR if that was how I truly felt about people. That meant more to me than she will ever know.
So, albeit late, thank you for staying with me on this journey and reading my posts. I appreciate more than you know.
I can’t say it enough how important it is to connect with people. I don’t mean to say hi at monthly meetings or to have 3,000 LinkedIn connections. I mean to connect.
I just spent the last hour or so chatting with Jon Thurmond. If you don’t know Jon, you are missing out. I reached out to Jon for advice as I have recently undertaken additional responsibilities in my volunteerism, and he is the social media guru. TRUST ME.
What’s great about giving back in HR is that we can chat about work, life, our volunteering, and we are always willing to help out the next person. The next time someone asks me about social media, I have some new tips to share!
What do you have to share? How can you give back? You don’t have to be an expert at anything. Start small.
Participate in a Twitter chat.
I started with #Nextchat years ago when I joined Twitter and found it. I have made so many wonderful connections just through that chat! It’s at 3pm EST on Wednesdays. Check it out. The topic is micro-internships this week. Who doesn’t want to learn more about that?
I am a co-moderator of #JobHuntChat on Mondays at 9pm EST. I’ve plugged this before, and it’s volunteering, so no one is paying me to tell you to join in. If you are looking for a job or are able to offer advice for those that are, I encourage you to join in!
Jon and Wendy host the #HRSocialHour which is an awesome monthly chat where HR professionals and enthusiasts chat about goals, pop culture, beverages, and everything in between. I’m usually cooking dinner at 7pm EST, so I’m usually late and share gratuitous photos of my food.
I had a manager call me about an issue this week, and the guidance that I provided on how to handle the situation reminded me of something I witnessed in my very first HR job, and it got me thinking that I will always remember my first HR boss for the way she handled that situation. That is the legacy she left with me.
YEARS ago, when I was in my very first HR Assistant role, we had a receptionist up front at our organization who was the first impression to every candidate, customer, you name it. This receptionist came to us via a temp to hire situation, and I’m pretty sure it was the first job she had where she was supposed to dress professionally. She did her best, but they didn’t quite fit – especially the skirts. If you haven’t had the honor of having the “your clothes are inappropriate for the workplace conversation,” you really aren’t living. Yes, I’m being facetious.
It wasn’t just the fact that my boss handled the situation that has always stood out to me, it was HOW she handled it.:
She didn’t send a blanket e-mail to the entire company, reminding everyone of our dress code policy. HR is not the dress code police, and don’t let anyone make you the dress code police.
She did 2 things: 1. She talked to the employee, privately, and asked her how she could help her. During the conversation, the employee confided to my boss that she could not afford nice clothes, and so she was buying her suits in the juniors department – hence the short skirts. My boss did not judge her or give her some ultimatum about the dress code policy. My boss bought her clothesthat she could wear to work. 2. My boss didn’t tell a soul, and the only way that I found out was because the receptionist shared the story.
How amazing is that? We don’t all have the ability to buy our teams new clothes, but we have the ability to meet people where they are and ask them what they need. I will never forget the way she handled that, and I can only hope that at some point in my career, I leave a similar impression with my team: I tried every day to be better for them than I was the day before, and I helped them to be the best they could be for their future teams.
What is the legacy you want to leave behind? What are you doing today to work towards that?
How do you make decisions? Are there charts, graphs, spreadsheets, pages of data? Yes, data is important, but so are the humans in our care. Do you include input from those affected, if possible, in your decision-making process? Perhaps you could glean insight from another perspective that would completely change how to approach a situation.
We learned the difference between right and wrong long ago, and it would appear that we have forgotten how simple that litmus test can be. The bottom line in any decision first and foremost should be “what is the right thing to do?” If you can’t do the right thing, go back to the drawing board and work harder. It’s not always easy to do the right thing. There can be considerable pushback – it’s not always the easiest, most cost-effective, etc. However, doing right by our people is priceless in terms of trust, transparency, and confidence in leadership.
As leaders, we have a responsibility to do the right thing by our people. This is why we are in positions where we have been entrusted to serve others. It is our great privilege to serve our people, and they are trusting us to keep their best interest at heart when we are making decisions that often have a ripple effect in our organizations.
We must have the courage to make the right decisions – to do that right thing. We also must work hard to ensure that we are making our workplaces a safe environment with a strong culture of integrity. We must empower other leaders in our organizations and support them in their courageous efforts.
I’m not naive. I know this isn’t easy. I also know that there are times when tough calls have to be made, jobs have to be cut, locations have to be closed, layoffs have to occur, pay has to be frozen. In times like this, it is in the best interest of the business overall to make these decisions. We are preserving the business and the ability to continue to operate by making these moves. This is for the greater good. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I once had to lay off 20% of the workforce in the morning and co-star in a commercial for the business in the afternoon. Yes, it was brutal.
While it’s sometimes inevitable to do these things, you always have a choice in how you conduct yourself in the process and how you treat others.
Always behave with integrity in your actions.
Always treat those affected with the utmost care, compassion, and respect.
Always provide as much information behind decisions as possible. Letting someone know just how difficult the decision was can help them feel a little less like their hard work was in vain.
Always take responsibility for your actions. Do not blame “corporate” or “your boss” when delivering the news. Make sure that you understand the why behind what happened so that you can speak to it. People lose respect for you when you are reduced to a headpiece for “the establishment.”
Do the right thing. Ask questions when something doesn’t seem right. Teach your teams to do the same.
I was invited by my pastor to participate in a Bible.com Study last week on Servant Leadership called “Kingdom Leadership in Your Workplace,” and I LOVED seeing this perspective. Whatever your particular faith or beliefs, I believe we can all agree if we are focusing on being better leaders, and in my case, being a servant leader, the quote below will resonate.
In the study, this quote stood out to me:
“Servant leaders value the development of people around them; they build their communities, act authentically, and share power.” [Oxford comma added by me because that’s the right thing to do.]
When we think about our behavior in our organizations, are we showing up in this way?
Value the development of people around you: Are you focusing your resources and efforts for professional development on yourself, or are you sharing with your team? Do you support professional growth and development, or are you secretly intimidated by the growth of one or more of your team members? Examine yourself and share the wealth.
Build your community: Are you building your team? How are you supporting your organization? Do you give back? Are you a member of your state or local chapter? Twitter chats? LinkedIn posts? There are tons of volunteer leadership positions available through online, local, state, and national professional association chapters – SHRM and otherwise. I’m in HR, so I became a volunteer leader on the board of my local SHRM chapter, GCHRA. I’m also now a co-moderator of #JobHuntChat where I help facilitate the conversation between those “in search” and those helping those “in search.”
Act authentically: Are you being your true authentic self? If not, what is holding you back? Is it safe to be authentic in your workplace? Do you make it safe for others? If not, what is holding you back? Are you behaving as the leader you always wanted? What can you do tomorrow that will bring you closer to bringing your authentic self to situations?
Share power: We are entrusted with our teams for a reason. It is our esteemed privilege to serve our teams and our people. We do them a great disservice by not empowering them to one day lead their own teams. Empower your people. Share information. Communicate often. Do not be an information miser. Foster a culture of accountability within your team to empower them.
Are you participating in the Twitter chat #JobHuntChat? It will take an hour out of your day, and you will get to:
Learn something new
Meet new people
These all sound great, right? I have been participating for a while, and I’ve very recently tried my hand at moderating and lived to tell the tale. It took a minute to get used to which handle I was using. I was among friends, and it wasn’t life or death, so it all worked out. It wasn’t about me anyway – I was there to facilitate the conversation.
The #JobHuntChat met this evening at 9pm EST (8pm CT/7pm MT/6pm PT), and it meets every Monday at that time. The format is similar to other Twitter chats: Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. There are #jobseekers, #jobhelpers, and #HRPros ready and willing to help in any way they can.
It is guaranteed to be a good time, and I hope to see you there!