The Counsellor: Don't be patient, just dive in and start performing
Role of a manager is to help employees succeed and for this, he is expected to provide coaching, mobilize resources and communicate regularly
I head the HR department in a small organization and there is a lot of ambiguity with respect to my role. With an experience of 5 years in HR, I find it very difficult to cope with this non clarity in my role where there are often situations where I am merely distributing offer letters while the recruitment decisions are owned by the CEO and business heads. I do not see my career moving anywhere in this company. How do I address this situation? Should I be patient and wait it out, or should I address my concern with the management?
Providing role clarity to the people in the company is the management responsibility and this has to be championed by the HR function. If you do not have role clarity, no one can help. You have to initiate this yourself. I am sure you know the reasons why you were hired in the first place; you also know the explicit and implicit understanding between you and the people who hired you. This becomes the basis for your engagement.
In your case, it is obvious that you have not been able to establish the sound working relationships with your CEO and the business heads. Maybe you are yet to establish your credibility too. It is clear that there exists a mismatch between what they expect you to do or they believe you can do and what you believe you can do or are expected to do. In such a situation, you cannot be patient and wait it out.
Recruitment decisions that you have cited in the questions have to be always made by the CEO/business heads. HR’s role is to source the right candidates, provide opinion/advice as one of the panelist and facilitate the selection process.
First and the foremost, take stock of what your strengths are, talk to your CEO on what you can do and what you believe you should be doing. Understand his/her mind and opinion on what he/she believes they can do and should be doing. Get clarity on your positioning and start operating from your strengths rather than your beliefs on what your role should be. Your career will start moving up only when you demonstrate your capabilities, knowledge and skills. Just start performing. There is no point in sulking, this just creates negative energy. Your full alignment to the CEO to begin with, followed by alignment with the business heads should be the starting point. Classical HR organizations or the classical expectations from HR are difficult to exist in a small business. You have to be fully appreciative of the business needs and figure out what contributions you can make to help your organization succeed.
Vivek is a Senior HR professional with over 35 years of experience, ranging several leadership positions, in India and abroad. He leads his consulting practice since 2003 and presently works as a Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries, and is also an independent Director on the Board of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd. Prior to this, he was based at Singapore for several years where he was Director HR - Operations at Hewlett Packard for the Asia Pacific Region.
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