Positivity is so…positive. When I am referred to as the warm, huggy HR guy (stop laughing, it still happens once in a while), I smile. I mean, it’s certainly better than being seen as the obnoxious, pencil-pushing, rule-following, do-gooder HR guy. And while I don’t think that my career has hinged on my positivity, it certainly hasn’t hurt it!
Yes, I’ve done the birthday parties, the collection of funds for the family of a recently deceased employee, the bridal shower, the retirement dinners and countless company holiday parties. And you know what? It’s okay. I’m not Martha Stewart. I’m not David Tutera. I’m not on the panel of The Chew. But, I am willing.
Approaching the fullness of the HR role with a willing, positive spirit invites others in. It can opens doors for conversation and perspective-sharing that may not have otherwise occurred. I have learned much from employees when we’re working on a project together. Years ago, I worked on a “prom” being held during the summer for a group of temporary workers, as a thank you for their efforts. It was hilarious. Everyone went to a thrift shop and got awful tuxedos and bad bridesmaid dresses. We laughed and laughed as pictures were taken under the balloon arch that we made. And yet, one of the best parts of the whole thing was how much I got to know other staff who helped me get this craziness together. We spent time decorating, making picture frame gifts for each employee, etc., which all allowed for conversation. I learned so much about facets of the company, of process, of the good others were doing that I would not have had reason to know otherwise.
I know, I know. Many of you are saying, “OK, Baldino, you’re always telling me not to just be the party-planner. What gives here?” My answer is that you’re right. I don’t want you to be JUST the party-planner. But that does not mean you shouldn't be a part of it. An organization’s cultural improvement and enhancement is going to need leadership…that’s us, HR. Don’t be afraid. Love the chance to foster team through these opportunities.
And be authentically positive. There’s so much in our world that is tough, draining, annoyingly compliant (if ACA, FMLA and the like don’t make you want to pull your hair out, you have issues). Leverage opportunities for proactive organizational investment through positive approach with defined plans. Too many of us walk into these opportunities with the look of “I have to” on our faces. You won’t get the type of return possible with that kind of attitude. Find the genuine reasons to be encouraged which will allow you to display the positivity needed.
Sometimes, the crankiest person in the department becomes your best friend after a shared experience. There’s nothing like sharing hot dogs, beers and fries at a baseball game to bond people (at least for me). Create memories, encourage camaraderie and set the mood for laughter.
Take stock of your demeanor. I know how entitled you are to be pissed. I get that most of the people you see each day suck the life out of you. I am aware that you’ve had to cover the butts of people in the office for years. Keep it in check. Ever think what others are thinking of you? Do you think you’re alone in categorizing and judging others? Someone has to stop the carousel of negativity. We are the cultural ambassadors of our organizations.
Take hold of that role and don’t apologize for the smile on your face. No one should steal your joy. I’m positive that you can do this (see what I did there?).