All Eyes on You

I am so pleased that more and more Trench HR Professionals are becoming so virulent in the Talent Management Social-Mediasphere. Until recently, their representation in the debate and dialog was often overlooked…sometimes even ignored. But thankfully their voice is vibrant and relevant and getting louder every day. Every now and then an HR professional comes charging on to the scene with the knack for cracking that hard exterior that is all too often formed by the echo chamber. They bring us their thoughtful perspective in a refreshingly gentle manner. And they warmly renew our faith in this fine trade. Sabrina Baker is one of those HR professionals exactly. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know her better and have quietly rooted for her as she bolsters her voice in the HR Blogging community. I’m also extremely impressed by the methodically mature approach she’s taking while she locates her “next big thing.” I’d hire her in a heart-beat…and bet you would too.

I’m thrilled to have her guest post today. Please take the time to reach out to her and get to know her better.

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I attended a tweetup recently (organized by Charlie himself) where I finally got to meet people I had talked to online for months.  It’s always an amazing experience to meet people in real life when you feel like you already know them…

Something really struck me about the conversations: the amount of  genuine interest shown in my life.  I felt like giving a speech which included, “You like me, you really like me.” I am one of those people who figures others aren’t paying much attention to them.  As a true introvert I don’t feel like I put too much out there – or at least too much interesting stuff – for people to care about what I have to say.  Apparently, I was wrong.  Several people that I met could recite everything that had happened with me over the past year…in detail.  People really are reading my blog, tweets and whatever else I decide to throw out there.  It was encouraging and (to this overly self-conscious girl) very surprising.

The same thing happens in the workplace.  If you are a leader in an organization, employees are watching.  They are paying attention to your every move and every cue – verbal and non-verbal.  They watch: whose office you walk into, how long you’re there, what you look like when you come out. They Listen: pouring over every word dripping from your mouth, ready to read into most anything you say, analyzing it amongst themselves in your absence. You are their barometer…their tea leaves. They want to know how the company is doing, whether they should be worried about anything, or whether any major announcements might be coming their way.  They want to be “in the know” and the best way for them to do that is to keep their eyes on you.

I worked with an HR Manager once who learned this lesson the hard way.  During annual survey time her team was praised; but there were several “dings” from employees about her personal demeanor.  “I really like Sue.  She is a good HR Manager, but she always walks around with a scowl on her face like the world is coming to an end.” Sue was devastated when I read that to her.  It really wasn’t who she was at all; the thought that people felt like she was a dark cloud made her cringe.  More than anything she was shocked that they were even paying attention to her at all.

It is easy to get caught up in thinking no one is paying attention – that no one cares enough about what we have going on to watch. But we are sorely mistaken.  Employees are watching, leaders are watching, clients are watching and even those you connect with online are watching.  So tell me, what do they see?

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