Paul Bates, Strategy Advisor to the President of McMaster University and former Dean and Industry Professor in Financial Management at DeGroote School of Business spoke at our HRPA Halton Chapter event last night. The topic was “What can HR leaders take away as insights into leadership challenges today.” It was an interesting topic and he related it to lessons from his recent book “What I have learned so far and how it can help you.” He started out with:
a leadership lesson from a horse
Before a rider gets on a horse, the horse always wants to know “Am I safe with you?” and “Are you fit to be my leader?” If the answer is “Yes,” you will have a fine ride together. If the answer is “No” the horse takes over and you are out of the saddle and on the ground. This lesson can be applied to the workplace; if you create a safe environment and if you are fit to be a leader, your relationship with your people will thrive.
Other leadership lessons included:
1. Don’t let fear of making a mistake keep you from living life to the fullest.
- In my view, this means sometimes taking a leap of faith and reframing fear to another emotion like excitement. Tell yourself, “ Yes, I’m about to try something new. Isn’t that exciting.” and then go for it. As Paul stated, “Sometimes you have to let go of the life you are living now to get the life you are looking for.”
2. Stand up for what you believe in.
- I find that HR professionals often get a bad rap as the “yes” people. To ensure that doesn’t happen, as leaders we need to find our voice and stand up for what is right. We need to point out the people impact of business decisions when it’s sometimes forgotten. We need to advocate for creating happy, healthy, and productive workplaces that allow people to develop and contribute to their full potential.
3. Do what you love.
- I hear this often; do what you love and the rest will follow. I believe in the power of doing what you love. It brings happiness and success. But sometimes before you get to do what you love, you have to do the not so great stuff (with a smile on your face). You still have to do the paper work before you get to train people, and you have to take the garbage out if you want to enjoy a nice home. It doesn’t mean skipping over that stuff in the quest to doing only what you love.
4. Your workplace should bring you up not down.
- As HR professionals one of our roles is to help the company get to the point where it’s a great place to work; a place that brings people up instead of dragging them down. Our role is to try to make that change. Of course, you can only work for an organization that brings you down and isn’t willing to change, for so long. If your value system is not in-sync eventually you will have to move on to preserve yourself and what you believe in.
Those are my thoughts on some of the leaders lessons and challenges mentioned. What are your thoughts?
Best regards, Joanne