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JHRS Free Webinars Tackle the Difficult Conversations at Work

The HR Agenda Editorial Team

The JHRS recently hosted two webinars that tackled the subjects of change leadership for HR and interactions that restore the human spirit in the workplace.

In considering the workplace as a professional space, many may assume that being a professional simply means shunning emotions (or fearing them) and focusing only on cold processes and systems. It’s business, not personal, right? Or is it?

But if there is one thing that HR knows and experiences on a daily basis, it is that the professional is personal. When you are seeking to improve the performance of the team as a whole and individually, having meaningful conversations, person to person, is a non-negotiable. When you’re trying to lead and manage mission-critical change, you will need to strive for an understanding of and sensitivity to the human psyche.

Those are some of the most pressing issues HR faces that two recent JHRS webinars tackled. Presented by two authors and global thought leaders and moderated by then JHRS Chief Community Officer Jun Kabigting, these learning events offered participants a free opportunity to continue to build their HR education beyond the classroom.

Learning to Lead Change for the Human Resources Professional

Presenter: Barbara A. Trautlein, Ph.D.

  • HR is constantly called upon to design, communicate, implement and train on new ways of working. HR professionals, regardless of tenure, title and role, are all change leaders.
  • Change intelligence (CQ) can help HR reframe resistance to change from enemy to ally. Resistance is a powerful source of information for change leaders to align their perspective according to the needs of the change scenario. When you develop your CQ, you are making a difference in your organization, team and career. Developing your CQ is a critical competency at this time of massive disruption around the world.
  • Change is increasing in terms of pace, scope and intensity around the world. Such disruptions are mainly brought about by new technologies, mergers and acquisitions, new product launches and more. The scary thing about it? Statistics show 70 percent of major change initiatives fail, which may be a manifestation of the lack change leadership ability in organizations.
  • People lead change differently. Some lead change from the heart (focusing on people), others lead from the heart (focusing on the purpose) and others lead from the hand (focusing on the process). There is no “best” or right style to lead change. What is important is awareness of your style, so you can bank on your strengths as well as avoid overdoing those strengths and neglecting your blind spots. Knowing and understanding your style allows you to adapt your approach to what the change initiative needs according to the purpose, process and people involved. Tip: Change Catalysts offers a free CQ Assessment.

Bringing the Human Being Back to Work: The 10 Performance and Development Conversations Leaders Must Have

Presenter: Tim Baker, Ph.D.

  • Organizations are conversations.“Conversations lie at the heart of managerial work. Managers talk. It is through talk that they teach and inspire, motivate and provide feedback, plan and take decisions,” Dr. Baker quotes Lynda Gratton and Sumantra Ghoshal in the article “Improving the Quality of Conversations” (2002).
  • However, good quality conversation is sadly neglected. The art of conversation has been deteriorating due to several barriers, including the culture of inattention, too much formality, overreliance on non-face-to-face channels such as emails, and fear of emotions and asking questions. While many may feel they have “no time” for conversations, there is still a serious need for conversations, because conversations form the core of relationships. Leadership is a relationship.
  • As places of work become increasingly dehumanized due to the pressure to systemize, homogenize, and mechanize for profit, it leads to the dumbing down of work and the neglect of employee dignity. We are experiencing new pressures that are leading to human disconnect and increased feelings of alienation at work.
  • But the workplace is a vital community for interaction and support. As such, there is an urgent need to cultivate an authentic workplace by resisting this dumbing down of work and by bringing back respect for employee dignity. This further highlights the relevance of conversations today, which form the foundation for the authentic workplace.
  • Since most workers spend 1 /3 of their waking life at work, it is but only reasonable to expect and experience employee dignity. HR must remember that quality of interaction and patterns of communication between manager and team member is closely related to how human dignity is experienced in the workplace.
  • There are five developmental conversations, from coaching to relationship-building, that HR and leaders must have to restore human spirit at work.
  • Quoting from his book, “Conversations at Work,” Dr. Baker reminds participants that the key to bring out the best in others is to“ express appreciation, acknowledge contribution, and celebrate achievements” – something anyone can apply across all forms of interaction in business and in life



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