Playing wisely

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As HRBP’s, we often face a variety of business leaders on an everyday basis. While some are easy to influence, some just don’t listen. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had to face both kinds quite a bit. I’m not sure if it’s just me but closer to the review cycle, leaders suddenly seem more stubborn than ever before.

Over my years of grappling around in the world of HR, I’ve learnt a few tricks that help me navigate troubled waters.

  1. Pick which battles to fight – Everyone comes with a limited reserve of energy. Don’t deplete yours needlessly. You will only get home frustrated and wanting to quit. Weight each decision and choose which ones to fight. Pick wisely.
  2. Earn trust – It gets easier for the business to listen when you’ve earned their trust. An easy way to get ahead here is to pick low hanging fruit and deliver quick wins. If they don’t trust you, they ain’t going to take your advice. It’s easy logic.
  3. Get others to fight your battle – Remember me saying ‘pick your battles’? You can fight more if you have people by your side. Pick those in the leadership team who think as you do, those who trust you and those who the leader trusts. Then get them to fight your battles for you. It isn’t as hard as you’d imagine it to be.
  4. Revisit your framework – You knew this was coming. You might be wrong. Face it. Everyone makes wrong decisions. It’s never too late to accept. Understand why it is hard to convince the leader. Maybe he has a point. Maybe you are seeing it wrong. Revisit your framework. Do this all the time. It also helps earn trust.
  5. Don’t give up – Easier said than done but no one ever said that you had an easy job. It can be frustrating to work with a leader who doesn’t share your world view. That’s OK. It doesn’t mean you give in. Find a way to work together. The alternative thought will be appreciated. Go home, rewind and come back fighting the next day. Believe me, that is your job – to enable the business to make the right decisions.

This isn’t an exhaustive list but some that work. What keeps you sane when leaders don’t listen?

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