A few months ago, my staff bought me this coffee mug as a token of appreciation.
I used it with pride and thought it encapsulated my brand of sassy pretty well.
When my son saw it, he asked “Are you going to take that to your new job?”
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
“Well, it’s not very nice. People won’t want to play with you if they think you’re a know-it-all. Nobody likes a know-it-all.”
HR has the reputation for being the Know-It-Alls of our organizations. We often make others feel like we’re the only ones who can do stuff right the first time. We second-guess and hyper-criticize the handling of issues. We huff and puff about how things wouldn’t have gotten so messy if we’d handled it from the outset … Sometimes, these things are true and necessary to say.
Other times, we’re just mean muggin.
According to the urban dictionary, “mean muggin” someone is to look at them harshly in effort to make them feel small, stupid and/or intimidated. It is a type of bullying.
And HR is guilty of mean muggin!! (Not to be confused with the Blank Stare, by the way. Read more about that HERE)
Because so many HR pros are not comfortable with their place in the organizational space, they assert and insert themselves into things to try to establish and prove their importance. A lot of organizations and managers fall for it. They let themselves get fooled into thinking HR is the only one who can or should handle things like payroll, benefits, compensation, compliance, training, employee relations and on and on … But in the end, it usually backfires because HR either isn’t properly trained or isn’t properly staffed to handle all of this alone. We end up bogged down in administrivial things (yes, I made that word up) and can’t ever get to the higher level, strategic projects that really add value to our organizations.
Stop the mean muggin HR!!!
HR has to stop being afraid to share our knowledge with others. We are responsible to teach other departments and managers how to handle “stuff” because it all effects the people — and the people belong to everyone, not just HR. We do ourselves, our profession and our organization a great disservice by tricking everyone into thinking they can’t and shouldn’t know or understand this “stuff.”
As for my mean mug, I am still drinking out of it … until Santa brings me a new one. In the meanwhile, I see it as a reminder of the HR lady that I do not want to ever become.