Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Harsh Shukla
Ceo And Md Of 3 Uk Based Mnc's
+3 Others

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Hello Al!

I am 2 years into the HR Field.Still at my first job. Last year I was given charge of handing HR for a circle. It is all good. I think I am doing well. But the bone of contention that my management has with me is that I am not serious enough / strong enough. They say this because I am very friendly with the staff. It took me a long time to see their point.My learning from this experience is as follows

1) HR cannot go around making friends with employees except may be with other HR's

2) I used to call every one SIR!!Right from the Sr engineer to circle head, i did so because every body was older than me. It was a colossal mistake from which I am still reeling. Like another HR friend told me, Sir Sir bologe tho sir par baitega!( excuse the grammar)

It is always wise to use the word sir judiciously.others can be addressed with a Mr.

3) My eternal need to be loved by all. As a person I have never ending need for approval from every one and to be liked. I am working on it. This has also worked against me.

Now I am trying to go in for a complete image make over . As a part of this, i have made the following changes

1) Lead by example: Never being late to office

2) Documenting Everything: To appear more professional , i write mails to document discussions.

3) I have reduced talking and laughing with everyone ( I have to fight my funny bones every day to not make a witty repartee or laugh at a hilarious joke). To not appear aloof or moody I just smile graciously.

4) There was a man who would make fun of me every time I took a leave ( Yes now you know how much of a free reign i gave every one to talk to me in any way they could)!Gave him a earful for it in front of everyone in a very humorous way but his face went red and he got the point.

I feel so safe and nice after having joined this community knowing that my community is there to help and guide. If you have the time , please let me know if I am doing any blunders in the last 4 points.Please give me tips to build a formidable reputation and not be taken for granted because of my age and experience.
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Dear Lakshmi,

First and foremost my kudos to you. The way you have written your post goes on to show that you have tremendous clarity in your thinking process. Secondly, you have not just tossed your problems at seniors but you have come up with solutions as well. Now you are asking clarification whether the solutions are correct or not. Very good Lakshmi. Keep it up. I feel I had luxury of having subordinate like you!

Now replies to your learnings are given in italics:

1) HR cannot go around making friends with employees except may be with other HR's

Go round, make friends but it should have "formal framework". Do not break this framework of formality. Please understand difference between "making friendship" and "rubbing shoulders with someone".

2) I used to call every one SIR!!Right from the Sr engineer to circle head, i did so because every body was older than me. It was a colossal mistake from which I am still reeling. Like another HR friend told me, Sir Sir bologe tho sir par baitega!( excuse the grammar). It is always wise to use the word sir judiciously.others can be addressed with a Mr.

Calling someone "Sir", as a mark of respect is perfectly fine however, do not go on calling "Sir, Sir etc". At the same time be assertive also. Be polite but firm to say "no" where required.

3) My eternal need to be loved by all. As a person I have never ending need for approval from every one and to be liked. I am working on it. This has also worked against me.

Sorry. I strongly beg to differ with you. You are professional and that too HR professional. Expecting to be liked by everyone is political mindset. In the course of execution of our work, we may invite dislike from someone. But that is the nature of HR's job.

As per McClelland's Theory of Motivation, you appear to have strong Need for Affiliation. However, if required, you need to exercise power also.

Now my comments on the "changes" that you have made:

1) Lead by example: Never being late to office

This you should have done long ago. This has nothing to do with the problem that you have mentioned.

2) Documenting Everything: To appear more professional , i write mails to document discussions.

Good habit. However, ensure that you are able to retrieve records when required.

3) I have reduced talking and laughing with everyone ( I have to fight my funny bones every day to not make a witty repartee or laugh at a hilarious joke). To not appear aloof or moody I just smile graciously.

Please do not bring this change suddenly. Otherwise it will become noticeable to one and all. Anyway it is a good move.

4) There was a man who would make fun of me every time I took a leave ( Yes now you know how much of a free reign i gave every one to talk to me in any way they could)!Gave him a earful for it in front of everyone in a very humorous way but his face went red and he got the point.

Sorry Lakshmi. You could have reprimanded him in private and not in public. In fact before going on leave you could have given private feedback to that person that on your return he should not poke any fun at you. This would have strengthened your position.

Everything is fine from your side. However, I am little surprised on one thing. How come your senior HR or any other senior like Director, VP etc did not give feedback on the above points? Why there was situation wherein you had to analyse your mistake and take corrective measures? If someone had given you feedback, you could have corrected your behaviour long ago.

You are great Lakhmi. People do not change even after giving them feedback or after counselling. You are a person who were proactive in changing. You will grow surely. God bless you!

Dinesh V Divekar


My sincere and heartfelt gratitude to you Sir for your detailed, in depth analysis and reply to my query .

Your reply to my 4th point reiterated my belief in the vast difference between a senior and junior in handling a situation. The finesse in your actions ( based on the reply you gave) is exactly what I hope to learn in the coming years.

To address your questions, in my office I am the sole HR person.My reporting bosses are based in our Mumbai Office. They would always give me the feedback that ' You are doing everything required but something is missing' ( In my own words), For a long time I could not understand what it is that they were expecting. It took me some time to realize this and to think and come up with the solutions.

I think it could be because our interactions were limited and over the phone. It could also be because there is no supervision on a daily basis.

The person I administratively report to here is not from HR , he is the operations head and I think it suited them that I was very friendly and approachable.So he never pointed out anything inappropriate in my behavior.

Extremely happy to receive your feedback.
Hi Lakshmi,
I fully endorse Dinesh's observations.
May I congratulate you on the clarity of your post; recognizing the problems and offering solutions, to seek clarification from members of this site..
(I hope other juniors will learn from this.)
I am certain, with the mind-set, you have displayed, you will go far.
Regards,
Harsh
Hi,
I have a comments on your way to call elders using 'Sir'.
As we are born in india and taught from childhood to respect elders so our internal always ask us to fill the relationship with elders with respect.
But your workplace is not right place to use this learning; calling sir to elders or anyone is no more in practice in most of the industry.
Just don't think if you will not call someone using sir they may get disappointment.
You need to adopt new trends otherwise you will feel odd.
Your 4 solutions looks good and Mr. Dinesh has given nice comments.
Hi,
Wonderful Lakshmi! Great.I fully appreciate you not getting feedback.I am in similar situation.You may want to have frequent interaction with HO.Find ways and means to visit the HO.You will benefit greatly from their experience and knowledge.Being new to career you cannot afford to miss the opportunity to learn.
Way to Go...
Pavan
PRIME SPONSOR - TALENTEDGE "Interactive Anywhere Learning". Executive courses from top reputed institutes like IIM, XLRI, MICA. View Courses
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