Not a Thought Leader


They are all around us. People with something to say that makes us think in a new direction, and analysis of trends and data that make us better at our work every day. They share their perspectives and conclusions through LinkedIn, blogs, media outlets, conferences, consultancies and on other platforms. They’re thought leaders. And they're amazing. 

I was thinking about my work today, and what I realized is that although I write on my blog, engage online in conversations with other HR professionals about timely topics, and even speak at events once in a while, mostly (like other HR professionals) what I do is work with people:

·       I help the owner of an amazing company built from the ground up figure out how to develop his team so he can exit his role soon and his business can run without him.

·       I listen to team members when they feel misunderstood, or even vilified. I help them sort through communications to view them realistically and helpfully, and develop an action plan that makes sense.

·       I teach and mentor emerging leaders, challenge them to take their performance to the next level, give them all I can and celebrate with them when they succeed.

·       I untangle the human, legal and business complexities of reasonable accommodation for workers with disabilities and needs for leave from work.

·       I take the complex pieces of the talent acquisition puzzle and try to put them together in a way that delights everyone with job satisfaction, excellent performance results and retention of high potential employees, and increases inclusion of diverse ideas and perspectives.

·       I empathize with the real emotions that arise from life and work and endeavor to create an atmosphere of transparency and respect wherever I go.

·       I tell the truth with dignity and compassion to leaders and clients, even when they don’t want to hear it, and I don’t back away from the fire breathing dragons that inevitably try to scare me away.

Learning, thinking, collaborating and strategizing are important. But results are essential too. A good HR leader can inhabit all of these roles, taking in what wisdom we can from thought leaders and serving as a conduit for ideas and a catalyst for action and outcomes.

So, here’s a big “thank you” to the thought leaders from those of us in the trenches. You make us all better HR professionals. And to those of you who manage to be both thought leader and results-deliverer? I am so amazed by you, and grateful for opportunities to continue to learn from you. 

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Kelly Marinelli