What your Mother-in-Law and HR might have in common

As a supporter of the HR function and a former HR leader let me say that my intent is not to offend anyone with this post.

Let me also say that this post has nothing whatsoever to do with my  mother in law.  I have the greatest mother in law in the world.  She only has one flaw; she roots for the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball.

Now that the disclaimers are out of the way I want to share a few thought about how HR leaders can be viewed like mother’s in law when it comes to life and business.  I hope you will some humor in this as it is intended, but there are also some “ah ha” points that might be worth noting in the post.

1.  HR and your mother in law can both be obstacles to progress:  I know this one personally because I was that obstacle more than once in my career.  Picture this; a consultant comes in and markets directly to the CEO or COO and the next thing you know this person is referred to you as someone who can help the organization.  Many times this happened to me and I felt either threatened or repulsed because of their skill or lack of skill.  The key point in this is that if you want to form an effective relationship with an organization and HR needs to be a key player in that relationship, connect with HR and the other senior leadership.  Ignoring HR can certainly make things more challenging.

2.  HR and your mother in law may not be satisfied with the choices you make:  As I said earlier, I have a great relationship with my mother in law.  I have heard stories that others suspect that they would not have been the first choice if the MIL had made the choice for your spouse.  The same holds true to people you want to bring in to the organization.  If you want buy in from others, let them share in the decision making process.  Trying to shove a hire down the throat of HR without letting them help you can only make relationships more challenging and combative.  The object is to work together, not talk about how you might have done it differently.

3.  HR and your mother in law don’t need to move in:  The best HR relationship in your organization will be on where they are a consultant/strategic partner who assists you as needed.  If your intent is to have HR be the “traffic cop” that tells you what you can and cannot do, be prepared for challenges.  My relationship with my mother in law is great because we know and trust one another well and I value her input and she values mine.  You should strive to have the same relationship with both your mother in law and your HR leadership.

I could go on, but that is probably enough for today.

HR and your mother in law can both be your best friend or a hated foe.

How you choose to relate to them will make the difference.

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