I received a call this past week from a former colleague. She is in the HR profession and she told me her boss had left the company and she wanted to be considered for the position. We reviewed the responsibilities of the position and I whole-heartedly agreed that she was qualified and would be a great fit for the position. What intrigued me was that this very skilled and confident HR professional needed affirmation that she was good enough.
As our conversation continued, I learned a new GM had joined the company a few months ago and he would be responsible for hiring the HR Manager to support his organization. He had specifically told her that he wanted to consider external candidates in addition to any internal candidates. Of course, this immediately made her doubt her qualifications, skills and experience. Interestingly, I had to remind her of all the great work she had done when we worked together and the positive impact she had on the business. How quickly she forgot in the wake of doubt!
The reason I am writing this, is because I can’t help but wonder if the GM realizes the impact he had on her? Imagine if he had approached her differently or even if he had explained why he wanted to consider external candidates. Perhaps she would not have started to doubt herself and would have understood the business reasons. The good news is that she quickly got herself back on track by utilizing her professional support group. But what about those people who are not outgoing enough to reach out for perspective or those that may not have a support group? They could be a great fit for the job too but missed out on some extra encouragement.
This really made me think about how influential senior executives can be even in the simplest of interactions. It made me remember that senior executives can be intimidating just because of the position they hold and not even their actions.
This is just something for business leaders to think about as they communicate with employees. Don’t “over-egoize” yourself remember employees will read into everything you are saying; be thoughtful about what you say and how you say it. I don’t have any articles to quote, just my recent experience offering a dose of encouragement to a confident, skilled and outstanding HR professional.