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My boyfriend is a scuba diver. He seriously dives for lost treasure and wreckage and stuff like that. He swims like a fish –and has since he was seven years old.
I didn’t learn to swim until I was an adult. I grew up in the ‘hood;’ we played in sprinklers and hydrants. There weren’t many pools and most people didn’t know how to swim anyway. So the summer after I graduated from college, I took a class at the YMCA. I learned the basics but I still don’t know how to blow out my breath properly so I can swim laps.
So during one of our trips to the pool this summer, I asked him how. His response, “You don’t know how to do that?? That’s so easy! All you have to do is …” and he went on to describe and demonstrate the technique. Although I knew he was trying to help me, I stopped listening almost immediately so I didn’t learn a thing.
A few days later, I got a call from a manager who was having trouble running a report. I found myself repeating the words “You don’t know how to do that?? That’s so easy! All you have to do is …” And I cringed, knowing that manager was now feeling like I felt that day at the pool and probably tuned out from whatever instructions I’d given him.
Everyone isn’t good at everything. Everything doesn’t come easy for everyone. HR gets called on a lot to explain how and why things work to people who don’t know, both inside and outside our organizations. It’s important that we explain information in ways that do not make people tune out to our message. HR is everyone’s responsibility. The more accessible, practical and understandable we make the inner-workings of our function; the better it is for all involved!
So the next time you get that umpteenth call asking for guidance on an issue that you have explained at least a dozen times before: take a deep breath, resist the urge to criticize or mock, and give clear, concise and compliant directives like only HR can!
What’s All The Buzz?
Buzz Rooney is an HR professional with over 10 years experience in industrial and retail environments. Buzz has a degree in Communication Studies with focus on Organizational Communication and Leadership as well as a Master’s in HR Management. You can read more of Buzz’s writings at her blog, The Buzz on HR (www.thebuzzonhr.com ). You can follow her on Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/thebuzzonhr), like her on FaceBook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Buzz-on-HR/121898154549257 ) , and join her network on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/buzz-rooney/31/b46/342 ).