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HR as mirror

 

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Seeing truth | Not an easy job | See also

 

One of the key tasks of HR people is to hold up a mirror to the organization -- and make sure the take a long and honest look at what they see.

Seeing truth

This is not always the easiest of tasks, as people don't always want to look at themselves and will often turn aside when the see the mirror. The first task before holding up a mirror is thus to get them ready, getting them to acknowledge the existence of mirrors and the value of looking in them.

The next task, once they do look at the mirror you hold up, is to truly see what is there. Distortion of the image can first come from you, for example if you try to soften the blow or otherwise misinterpret what is there. More so, distortion can be rooted in the viewer who filters the news through subconscious defences and downplays the uncomfortable bits.

Not an easy job

Being the bearer of bad news (and any criticism can seem bad) is a tricky job at best and needs a social position where you have permission to speak the unvarnished truth and be properly heard. The boy in 'The Emperor's New Clothes' has social permission to say what he does only by dint of his age. The corporate role is closer to the position of the Shakespearian fool, who is not a direct threat yet has the ear and protection of the king.

Being a mirror is not an easy job. It needs a strong stomach and a stout heart to name what everyone sees but nobody speaks. It requires a deep integrity to do the right thing for the organization when people may be hurt and embarrassed in the shirt term. It takes courage to say things for which you will get no thanks.

But it has to be done, and if not you, then who else?

See also

 

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