No one is actually going to tell you this, but you’re doing it wrong (probably). Here are some tips directly from us:
- We are not your wife, mom, girlfriend, or therapist. We don’t need to hear your life story, just tell us the facts and let us ask you more questions if we need to.
- Have a result in mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to some long tale of woe and then when I ask at the end “what would you like me to do about this situation”, I hear this:
“Nothing, I just wanted to talk to someone”
Okay, well you have just wasted an hour of my life (see also #1 above) and chances are, if you have accidentally told me something that might be unethical, illegal, or against policy, I HAVE to do something, it’s out of both of our control now. Think carefully about what you are saying, because sometimes that train moves out of the station without your permission.
- Most of the time you know the answer, you just want to hear it confirmed which is fine, we are your partner and that is our role. However, sometimes you know the answer and you want us to do the work for you. This is not fine, and we won’t (or shouldn’t), and that is why you get the big bucks to be a manager – to manage.
- If an HR person starts a sentence to you with “Help me understand what you were thinking when xyz” you are about to be in big trouble. We are hoping you will come to this conclusion on your own (xyz was stupid) but if you don’t, you’re about to hear it from us.
- We really are here to help you. A great HR person will help you hide bodies and settle out of court if you have a good relationship, get them in the loop EARLY, and tell the whole story when asked. We can’t do anything if you hide things or lie to us, except prepare your exit paperwork. Whatever you are about to tell us, we’ve heard worse, I promise.