Your Superpower is Your Authentic Self!

I had someone ask me what my superpower is? I found that a hard question to answer. I mean do you think being able to write a 500-word blog post in 15 minutes a superpower!? Some bloggers probably do, but no one else!

I was told that my true superpower was me just being me. My authentic self. Then I asked this person how much I owed them for the life coaching session! 😉

We are told constantly to be ourselves, or live our true life, find a way to be yourself, etc. The reality is being your authentic self might be your superpower, but like all superpowers, they can be used for good or evil.

Let me give you the best example ever! Donald Trump is his authentic self. It’s his superpower and he rode that superpower right into the White House. His authentic self was a superpower he used for evil, and ultimately it destroyed him and his legacy.

What I find a leader of people is that employees living their authentic self either works wonderfully or awfully and rarely anywhere in between!

Here’s the thing about being your authentic self, you must first know if your “authentic self” something others want to be around or if your authentic self off-putting to others. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be yourself, but if your authentic self is a complete asshole, you might want to work for yourself and not someone else!

Let be really frank here, any gender can be an off-putting authentic self. It doesn’t mean you don’t love who you truly are, but you must also realize who you truly are isn’t what most people want to be around. Your superpower isn’t going to be asked to join the Justice League, you’re going to be asked to join the villain side.

In real life, you actually don’t become a villain, unless you’re DJT. Most likely you become your own boss, or you live a miserable existence trying to fit into a work world that doesn’t want you and you don’t want it. Some of the best and brightest people I know can’t work for others. Their superpower is something that allows them to be awesome, but not when working closely with others on a daily basis.

Why does this matter? 

It matters because if some idiot is trying to sell you the snake oil of “Just be your Authentic Self” you must first determine, is your authentic self something others will embrace and want to be around. If so, great, you’re going to probably have a great career. If it’s not, and you want to work in the corporate world, you’re probably in for a lot of therapy.

Also, let me be very clear, not living your authentic self while you are at work isn’t the worse thing in the world. You can be one thing at work and another thing in your personal life. Is it ideal? No. But, I’ve seen many people in my career be successful in doing this. It’s a little like Clark Kent and Superman. I can be Clark Kent at work and then go home and be Superman in the rest of my life.

The worse thing that can happen is you try and force your authentic self onto others and believe they should “accept” your authentic self. Nope. That’s not how it works. You can’t make anyone accept your authentic self, you can only make yourself accept that. If I don’t like your superpower, you can’t make me like it, and if I’m in a position to determine the trajectory of your career, you’re in trouble.

Superpowers are awesome, but they can be super for good or super for bad. Love who you are, but don’t expect others will necessarily love it.

The 12 Steps of Recovery for Passionate A$$holes!

I wrote a post a while back titled, “The 5 Things HR Leaders Need to Know About Developing Employees“. In that post I had a paragraph:

When I was young in my career, I was very ‘passionate’. That’s what I liked calling it – passionate.  I think the leaders I worked with called it, “career derailer”.  It took a lot for me to understand what I thought was a strength, was really a major weakness.  Some people never will gain this insight.  They’ll continue to believe they’re just passionate when in reality they’re really just an asshole.

I then had a reader send me a message and basically said, “This is me!” And I was like, “That was me too!” And then we kissed. Okay, we didn’t kiss, but it’s great to find another like yourself in the wild!

The reality is, I’m a recovering Passionate Asshole.

What’s a “Passionate Asshole” who are asking yourself? Here’s my definition. A passionate asshole is a person who feels like they are more about the success of the company than anyone else. I mean everyone else. They care more than everyone! And because we care so much, we treat people poorly who we feel don’t care as much as us!

Passionate assholes truly believe in every part of their being they’re great employees. You will not be able to tell us any differently. They are usually high performing in their jobs, which also justifies even more that they care more. But, in all of this, they leave a wake of bad feelings and come across like your everyday basic asshole.

You know at least one of these people. They’re usually younger in the 24-35-year-old range. Too early in their career to have had some major setbacks and they have high confidence in their abilities.

Here are the 12 Steps of Recovery for Passionate Assholes:

Step 1: Realization that you’re an Asshole, not the best employee ever hired in the history of the universe. This realization doesn’t actually fix the passionate asshole, but without it, you have no chance.

Step 2: You understand that while being a passionate asshole feels great, this isn’t going to further your career and get you to your ultimate goal.

Step 3: Professionally they have to be knocked down in a major way. I was fired. Not because I was doing the job, but because I was leaving a wake of bodies and destruction in the path of doing my job. You don’t have to be fired, demotion might also work, but usually, it’s getting canned that will do the trick.

Step 4: Someone you truly respect needs to tell you that you’re not a good employee, but an asshole, during a time you’ll actually listen.

Step 5: Find a leader and organization that will embrace you for who you’re trying to become, knowing who you truly are. You don’t go from Passionate Asshole to model employee overnight! It’s not a light switch.

Step 6: Time. This is a progression. You begin to realize some of your passionate asshole triggers. You begin to use your powers for good and not to blow people up who you feel aren’t worthy of oxygen. Baby steps. One day at a time.

Step 7: You stop making bad career moves based on the passionate asshole beast inside of you, telling you moving to the ‘next’ role is really the solution to what you’re feeling.

Step 8: We make a list of people we’ve destroyed while being passionate assholes. Yes, even the people you don’t like!

Step 9: Reach out to the people you’ve destroyed and make amends. Many of these people have ended up being my best professional contacts now late in life. Turns out, adults are actually pretty good a forgiving and want to establish relationships with people who are honest and have self-insight.

Step 10: We are able to tell people we’re sorry for being a passionate asshole when find ourselves being a passionate asshole, and not also seeing the passion within them and what they also bring to the organization is a value to not only us but to the organization as a whole.

Step 11: You begin to reflect, instead of reacting as a first response. Passionate assholes love to react quickly! We’re passionate, we’re ready at all times, so our initial thought is not to think, but to react decisively. You’ve reached step 11 when your first thought is to no longer react like a crazy person!

Step 12: You begin to reach out to other passionate assholes and help them realize how they’re destroying their careers and don’t even know it. You begin mentoring.

I know I’ll never stop being a Passionate Asshole. It’s a personality flaw, and even when you change, you never fully change. But, I now understand when I’m being that person, can usually stop myself mid-passionate asshole blow up, and realize there are better ways to communicate and act.

It’s 2020 and I’m Re-certifying with @SHRM. Want to know why?

In 2001 I got my SPHR certification for the first time. I started my first real HR Manager job and the CHRO wanted to make sure every single HR person on our team had either a PHR or SPHR. I did an eight-week group study course with fellow HR pros studying for the test and I was lucky that my company had also purchased a SHRM study kit.

I remember leaving that test thinking, “I have no idea if I failed or passed! And, boy, I only know a fraction of what I thought I knew in HR!” This was after studying for two months straight and putting legitimate hours in on the study kit.

I passed and vowed to never have to take that test again!

It’s 2020 and SHRM just sent me a reminder that my SHRM-SCP is up for renewal. For years I carried both the HRCI-SPHR and the SHRM-SCP. Again, I figured I did all the education to keep them up, I’ll just carry both.

Why am I re-certifying for the SHRM-SCP? 

  1. If you’re in HR, SHRM is the world-recognized leader in HR. So, having a certification from SHRM carries career weight.
  2. 99% of Leaders of organizations who care about someone having an HR certification have always believed it was a SHRM certification, even though for most of that time HRCI was the actual certifying body. Now, SHRM has its own HR certification, and quite frankly, it’s as good as the HRCI one, and in some cases better.
  3. I don’t see any other association in the world doing as much as SHRM does to advance the practice of HR. Because of that, I foresee them being the leader in the HR space for a long time.
  4. When I speak to actual SHRM card-carrying members, they are very satisfied with the association and they are very happy with the education and support they are getting.
  5. It’s a cost-effective way to stay on top of changes in HR and show those who care that I’m staying on top of my profession, probably better than most people are.

Let’s be honest, I’ve reached a point in my career where the SHRM-SCP certification isn’t needed for me personally. I don’t have to re-certify and I’ll have a job tomorrow and at any time in the future. But, I’m choosing to anyway because I did the work!

I developed content for webinars and presented it to my peers in HR and TA. I sat and watched peers in HR and TA present at conferences and on webinars and I learned things I didn’t know. I read books and listened to podcasts, and consumed tons of HR-related material so I was staying up on all the changes in the HR field.

Maybe it’s PTSD from taking that test once, but I’m re-certifying because I never want to have to take it again. I’m re-certifying because having my SHRM-SCP makes me feel special and accomplished. It sets me apart in the field of HR, and I won’t apologize for that, I passed the test and did the work.

Me re-certifying isn’t about taking a stance for or against something. This is about me and my professional development. I encourage every single professional to find ways to continue your professional, functional development long after you have “gotten the job”. Getting the job is just the start, not the end!

(FYI – for those thinking somehow SHRM is paying me for this post. They aren’t. But as always I welcome anyone to pay me for anything if they are so inclined! I’m an equal opportunity check casher.) 

Does Having 2 CEOs Work? Also, Ginger Superiority on #HRFamous

In episode 38 of The HR Famous Podcast, longtime HR leaders (and friends)  Tim SackettKris Dunn, and Jessica Lee discuss whether having two bosses or two CEOs (dual leadership in major corporations) ever works, superior genetic traits and dress codes in a WFH environment.

Listen (click this link if you don’t see the player) and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (Apple Podcasts) and follow (Spotify)!

Show Highlights:

3:00 – Tim found an article about genetic superiority and the fact that redheads are superior (seems a little biased that Tim found this one). Redheads feel 25% less pain and run hotter in addition to other superior traits.

6:30 – JLee brings up the genetic superiority that Koreans have such as dry earwax and a  lack of body odor when sweating. The HR Famous crew is full of genetic superiorities!

8:30 – Do you find that the redheads in your life run hot in temperature and anger?

9:20 – Next topic: Business Insider reported on the two CEOs of Netflix and dual leadership at that company. They said that this resembles a family where there are often two CEOs leading a single-family.

13:00 – Tim gives an example of his work at Applebee’s and how the CHRO and the CEO had a co-CEO like relationship where the CHRO was very beloved by employees but the CEO was running a lot behind the scenes.

16:00 – JLee thinks it might be a little ridiculous to give out the compensation packages that a CEO of a company like Netflix would get to two different people. She also doesn’t know if a two-parent analogy is the best comparison because she thinks often one parent is doing more than the other.

20:30 – KD mentions two different places that dual leadership can go haywire. He thinks that who makes the final decision may be an issue in addition to the issue of an “I don’t know who my boss is” sentiment among employees.

24:00 – Next topic: dress code policies for virtual working. Some HR departments are trying to reconsider what a dress code looks like in a virtual environment.

25:30 – KD thinks that dress code violations tend to come more in the vain of overdressing rather than underdressing.

28:00 – JLee thinks the charade of putting a suit on for one call or presentation is a little bit ridiculous and not very genuine.

31:00 – Let JLee wear her ripped jeans! KD asks JLee what is actually inappropriate to wear on a video call. JLee thinks T-shirt and athleisure are 100% OK.

33:30 – Tim says that he’s gotten better about asking what is appropriate to wear for meetings instead of shooting in the dark.

4 Reasons You Fight to Keep What You Have vs. What You Need!

I recently had a great conversation with the CEO of Greenhouse Software, Jon Stross. Jon developed a model he calls the Hiring Maturity Model. Basically, it’s a scale or curve of where your recruiting department is in terms of technology maturity.

Part of that conversation was a fascinating piece around why do we keep technology that isn’t moving us forward or making us successful? Don’t say budget! It’s not budget! Let me explain that.

What are the four reasons why we would rather keep stuff we have versus getting stuff we actually need? 

1. We fear the pain of change. “Moving from one ATS to another ATS is hard work and takes years and it’s just not worth it, Tim!” You’re wrong. It was that way when we had on-premise software, but with modern-day Saas platforms, this isn’t as painful by a mile! My most recent ATS change took 6 weeks, and we had zero downtime because kept the legacy system going while we got used to the new system.

2. We fear short-term lower performance over the benefit of long term gains. Well, it might not be great, but we know what we have. What if we change and it’s worse!? It won’t be because you will do your due diligence and research and you’ll make sure it will be exponentially better! If what you have isn’t that good, you must be willing to build something better. Your organization needs you to do this.

3. We feel stupid and don’t know the technology enough to advocate for change. This is very legitimate. I feel stupid every single day about technology. I’ve got some stupid thing with my Macbook going on and I can’t figure it out and drives me crazy! Demo. Demo. Demo. I felt stupid about our TA Tech space and I just started demoing everything I could find and it opened up a completely new world of what is possible in talent acquisition.

4. It was your call, originally, to get what you have, so bailing on it now looks bad on you. Do you still have an iPhone 4? No!?! What!?! Why not!? When the iPhone 4 was launched it was AWESOME! Oh, wait, the iPhone 12 is better? Turns out, technology improves. What you thought was best two or three years ago is now a dinosaur in the technology world. So, just like IT, Finance, Operations, it’s okay to say, hey, the tech we have now isn’t what we need today to stay competitive for talent.

Did I say demo? For the love of St. Petersburg, Demo! It’s the single best thing you can do to develop yourself around getting smarter about the technology in your functional professional area of expertise.

Too many of us keep processes and systems way too long for reasons that when you really dig into it, don’t even make sense. “Well, Tim, we have to use this ATS because payroll is tied to it and payroll says we can’t change.” Um, what!? Does payroll drive revenue for the organization? Does payroll find and develop talent for the future of the organization? Stop it! Stop the excuses.

Oh, Budget! 

I forgot it’s the pandemic, you don’t have a budget. Actually, you do. I mean you’re already spending it on crappy software that isn’t working for you. Stop spending that, and you have all kinds of budget! I have never met one CEO/CIO/CFO who when shown a better more efficient way of doing business wasn’t all in on giving it a try if it didn’t cost them more money. Same money? Okay, let’s do it!

Check out the Greenhouse podcast with Jon and me. He’s a great dude. I love his voice and cadence, I could listen to him all day!

Why do we suck so much?

There’s an interactive questioning technique called The 5 Whys.  The theory is that if you continue to ask ‘why’ enough times you’ll get to the root cause of every issue.

Timmy is a bad performer. Why?

He doesn’t follow through on anything. Why?

It seems like he gets things started well and then moves onto other things before the first thing is finished. Why?

He likes the energy of starting new projects. Why?

He thinks if he’s on the front side of the project, he’ll have more influence in the direction the project is going. Why?

Because that has been his experience with our organization.

Oh, so he might not be a bad performer. He just has an opportunity area that we might be able to help him out with – getting projects across the finish line.  And we’ve taught him to behave in this manner.

I don’t know if you have to use to 5 whys each time, I do think you have to ask at least 3 whys to get past the emotion of any decision.  We tend to make most decisions with some element of emotion.  Getting to the third why will get the emotion out in the open.  That is important in any decision-making process.

Does this technique seem a little ‘parental’?  It does, which is why you probably don’t want to make a habit of using this technique too often.  It is definitely a tool, though, that can be very effective for a leader to use from time to time.

“We need to change our hiring process!”

Why?

“We have had 3 consecutive failed hires.”

Why?

“Well, one person was a referral from an executive, so we hired without really checking references. One hire totally aced our pre-employment testing, but had a sketchy work history, but tested off the charts. One was a knock out in the interview, marginal testing, and just didn’t pan out.”

So, do we really need to change our hiring process? Or should we just start following our hiring process?

3 Whys takes the emotion out of any decision making process.  It gets out everyone’s inner issues about the problem.  We tend to lead with a crisis statement that will lead to action.  If we take action based on incomplete information, we will unnecessarily start doing things that we might not need to do, or make changes that really don’t make sense to the organization.

Next time you are facing a tough decision, start asking ‘Why’ and see where it leads you, you might be surprised where you’ll end up!

 

Another day making decisions no one wants to make!

On the phone this week with a few HR Pros from the hospitality industry (think hotels and restaurants) some of the folks hit the worst by the pandemic. We start the call like most calls – “how are you doing”.

At some point during the pandemic, when this question is asked, I kind of just started laughing. How am I doing? How are you doing? It’s a pandemic! We survived another day! Does that answer the question?

My HR pro friend says, “It’s another day of making decisions that no one wants to make.” That struck me. She was right of course, that’s the job. Do we let go of Sally today, or cut some other important resource we can’t live without. Which is the lesser of two evils? Can I go home and have a drink already?

“It’s another day of making decisions that no one wants to make.” 

In a nutshell, this is leadership.

For all positives, we get out of being leaders we know there comes a huge downside. There will be times when you must make a decision that no one wants to make, but you have to. The knowledge of this doesn’t make it easier, it’s just knowledge.

What’s the silver lining of all of this?

I do think making tough, unbearable decisions, that no one wants to make, helps you as a leader understand real pressure from fake pressure. The greatest leaders I’ve been around didn’t panic in times that it didn’t call for it, or in times when it seemingly would have warranted it. They understood a call had to be made, no one was going to be happy, this is the job.

Here’s the thing though, with all of this. You can be in a position to make decisions no one wants to make, or you can be in a position where you are able to make decisions and stuff is just going to happen to you. Awful decisions are awful, but I’ll take that situation then not being able to make the decision.

The Pandemic has been hard on HR pros!

If we sat down and started to list out who has been most impacted by the pandemic on the jobs front, we would come up with a pretty interesting list! The vast number of unemployed would show us that almost everyone has been impacted, and, quite frankly, it kind of feels that way.

If we dig into the data side of what has really happened over the last six months, the picture looks less bleak for some, and a little scary for many, especially us HR pros. Appcast, a job advertising programmatic technology company, released its 2020 Midyear Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Report recently that looks at all the activity around jobs. Stuff like which jobs are getting the most applies. What kind of jobs is being posted? Etc.

When we look at the macro-world of jobs, we begin to see some super exciting things around the winners and losers, in the job market, at this point in the pandemic. Some of the outcomes are certainly understandable. In healthcare, for instance, the number one job being posted is for epidemiologists. Okay, that makes complete sense! In the middle of a pandemic, we need more Epidemiologists to help us stop the spread.

One big thing that popped out at me instantly was the job function that had the greatest change in the rate of applies. Meaning, more people in this job function, started looking for a new job. Can you guess what job that would be!? Yeah, it was HR! An increase of 24.5% from Q1 2020 to Q2 2020.

Are you surprised by this? Why would HR, out of all jobs, be the one that is out looking at a higher rate than everyone else?

The reality is, and we saw this during the Great Recession as well. HR pros are often the first to be cut during poor economic times. After all the work, after all the words from the c-suite, after all the studies about the importance HR has on the success of organizations, we (HR Pros) are still one of the first to be cut when money gets tight.

Why does HR get cut first?

Over the next 12-36 months, most economist believes we’ll be in a tough job market. Pandemic hangover, the election, and an economy that was due for a pullback after a decade of expansion, HR jobs will be tough to come by for a while.

HR leaders and pros don’t lose their jobs if they clearly bring value to the organization. Our c-suite executives who are making these calls probably see value creation and sustainability by HR differently than HR sees itself.

We know, with the HR function, far too many of our peers are still too transactional in what they do. Of course, every function will always have a certain amount of work that is transactional, but in hard times, transactional work is the first to go. If you haven’t proven yourself to be strategic, and demonstrate what you’ll add value and increase productivity within the organization, you will always be a target to get cut.

HR is getting cut because too many of us still struggle to show organizations how great people practices drive the world’s most productive and profitable organizations.

The good news is we control this, and we can educate ourselves and prepare ourselves to be value-adders to any organization, no matter the industry or location.

I love the new SHRM Specialty Credential that focuses on Inclusive Workplace Culture. Think about where organizations are right now in the middle of the pandemic and all the energy around social justice. Organizations need HR pros who are going to drive change and make positive business results. Specialty Credentials educate HR pros faster than anything else on the market.

The HR Job market is not going to get easier anytime soon, and the best way to protect your career or put yourself in a competitive advantage over other job seekers, if to have skills and knowledge they don’t. We all make investments on ourselves. Some of those are health investments, or for our family, some are for our careers. The time to make those investments are when the world is changing the most.

The Weekly Dose: @Imperative – Peer to Peer Coaching for Leaders!

Today on The Weekly Dose I review the peer to peer coaching technology platform Imperative. Imperative is a leadership development platform that uses the power of peers to support each other as they manage remote employees and accelerated change in the workplace.

Two things we all need right now? Help with developing remote employees, especially our leaders, and we all have a bit of change we are facing! Imperative is a technology designed to evaluate your leadership style and connect you with another peer in your organization so you can do peer to peer coaching.

Through a video-based coaching platform, leaders meet in rotating pairs for scripted peer-to-peer coaching conversations that are dynamically designed to adapt as their needs change. I actually used my peer, Kris Dunn, to demo the technology with me, so we got a firsthand view of how well Imperative works.

What I love about Imperative:

  • First, you take a personal leadership inventory that gives you your leadership style and insights. This data is used to assist your peer coach in asking questions and digging in further. The platform also reminds you of your style and tendencies as you are coaching.
  • Kris and I both found the assessment accurate in how we would normally describe our normal leadership behaviors. Plus, we’ve both gone through many kinds of these assessments in our careers, and Imperative was right on the money in discovering what type of leaders we are.
  • The process of peer to peer coaching can be awkward, but Kris and I got on the platform and within minutes were actually moving through the process, and even though we are very close and work together often, we were prompted with questions where we actually learned new things about each other!
  • The technology keeps you on tasks and has each person actually taking notes so each person has something at the end, and gives you information for your next session to follow up on. There is definitely a feel to the coaching around pushing for higher performance and outcomes on both a personal and professional level.
  • I never felt self-conscious about what I was asking or being asked. That is by design, as it can be difficult first starting as a peer coach and the last thing you want to do is make people feel uncomfortable with the process.

Kris and I both did this from our homes and no issues with the technology at all. So, this is simple to use peer to peer coaching tool for your leaders who are working at home, or in different locations altogether on a normal basis.

We are in a new world of trying to figure out how do we develop our employees, and it’s critical right now we continue to develop our leaders. Peer to peer coaching is a great way to do this with an added benefit of it really teaches your leaders how to coach their own teams as well! Imperative is well worth the demo, and if you can just ask them to take a test drive with yourself and another peer!

 

Is Love Greater Than Fear?

The most famous quote from Machiavelli’s book “The Prince” is:

“Better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”

Uh, oh, Tim is quoting Machiavelli, this blog has jumped the shark!

I heard this quote recently in a virtual HR event. HR speakers seem to come in two types:

1. Love is greater than fear. This is popular and most fall into this camp. It’s a feel-good play. The first rule of HR speaking, it’s always better to make the audience feel good, than to give them something they actually need.

2. Machiavelli’s assessment, It’s better to be feared. Less popular take, but I do hear it in the form of stuff like, “I’m not here to be your friend, I’m here to get results!”

I also have smart friends who pull Machiavelli’s name out anytime they want me to feel like I’m on the wrong side of something, “How ‘Machiavellian’ of you, Tim!” Okay, I get it, you’re smarter than me, how ‘Machiavellian’ for you!

The normal breakdown of leadership goes like this. You would rather be a beloved leader than a feared leader. Those leaders who are loved will be more successful than those who are feared. You have to be one or the other. Or do you?

I think all leaders deep down in places we don’t talk about at parties (A Few Good Men reference!) want to be loved, or at the very least, well-liked. It’s human nature. No one really wants to be hated. It’s stressful, people don’t want to be around you, it makes for uncomfortable hugs, etc.

On the love side, love can make you do some crazy things, but so can fear. I would drive all night to help my wife or kids with something if I thought they really needed me, even if they or I could probably find another alternative. I would also probably work all night if I thought I might lose my job and I need to pay my mortgage. Love and fear are powerful in getting us to act.

I think fear is bigger when it comes to crunch time scenarios. I might ‘love’ my boss a ton, but when the project is on the line and the company might lose a major project and cost us hundreds of jobs, fear is driving the truck, not love. Love won’t bring those jobs back, fear might just win those jobs back.

As leaders, this our dilemma. I want my team to love me, but I also need a touch of fear on the edge. It’s an imperfect balance.

What I know is love isn’t the only answer, no matter how many memes you make or posters you put it on. I don’t know if Love is bigger, it’s definitely more popular, for obvious reasons, but great leaders have used both. I want you to love me, I need you to fear me a bit, in the end, I’ll probably use both to get the job done.