Speaking of natural behavioral styles, the Washington Business Journal had an article about this very topic … why are more HR executives not at the executive table?
There are a variety of reasons; however one of the top set is because of the communication style of HR Executives. They are more ‘people people’ than CEO’s, who like to hear the end result first.
They [HR] want to find compromises and make everyone happy, a skill that is great in managing employees but not always the best in the competitive environment that often exists in a company’s upper ranks. Some get discouraged by the confrontational nature of the C-level table and give in to their desire to keep others happy rather than further their department’s stature. .. Many HR executives don’t know how to assemble and argue a solid case to demonstrate the value of their expenses. They need to be more forceful in demonstrating how those expenses generate returns…Although a good employee, [the former HR manager] was a tactical manager, doing the same things the same way they had always been done. After the period of rapid growth, there were too many people going in too many directions, with too many competing agendas. Straightening things out required a new, more strategic voice.
Generally speaking, C-level executives are more of the direct type … decisive, efficient, demanding. When you communicate with them, there are two things you need to remember:
- Talk in bullet points and
- Tell them the result or the outcome first.
If they want more information, they will ask for it. By doing this, you will gain their respect, which is a much higher compliment to them than if they said they liked you.
The author of this article is alluding to HR being a person that likes to engage with others … people oriented, having fun, wanting to connect to others, not necessarily liking confrontation.
When executives see HR professionals back down in an effort to keep the peace, they feel that HR doesn’t have the sharp teeth to fight for change.
Depending on where they are in the behavioral arc, they may be more adapting than wanting to be in control. Or they may fluctuate between those two.
Being cognizant of how others communicate, and want to be communicated with, and taking the appropriate action, is a step in building high performance teams and increasing productivity.
A person’s perception is their reality … it isn’t what you said, it’s what they think they heard.