Caroline McEnery of The HR Suite shares her experience dealing with one of the most sensitive aspects of business: people.Download Podcast
Caroline McEnery, Managing Director, The HR Suite
"A manager has two jobs: take the heat out of situations and nip things in the bud."
My guest on this podcast is Caroline McEnery, the founder and Managing Director of The HR Suite, an HR consultancy service.
Caroline developped The HR Suite because she was hearing time and time again from business owners that HR was one of the biggest, thorniest challenges to the growth of their business.
She recently published her book, The Art of Asking the Right Questions - A People Manager's Toolkit, as a guide to address the everyday situations that can make or break a team.
Do we become people managers by design... or by default?
HR, as the name implies, is all about human relations - that means emotions, sometimes strong ones, and conflicting perceptions. It takes consummate skill to navigate that human element.
However, in Caroline's experience, people become managers as a reward for their excellent work: they are promoted to the next step on the corporate ladder and end up managing people not because they are good at it, but because they were very good at their technical job.
A brilliant engineer might excel at their engineering skills, but this does not mean they are innately good at managing people and situations of tension.
So are managers born, or made?
The forgotten skill of listening intently
When human situations escalate in a company, this might result in a formal grievance process. Because the outcome of the formal grievance process is to decide who is right and who is wrong, this can damage relationships beyond repair, sometimes making it downright impossible for people to work together again.
However, there is a way to avoid this: if a manager is proactive and has worked on their people skills, they will be able to nip things in the bud, and the HR department need never hear about small issues, because they will never become big ones.
The high net profit brought on by seemingly unproductive time
The time we take to really listen to coworkers is not wasted: it's the foundation on which amazing success is built.
Sometimes a manager in a high-powered job will come home exhausted and will wonder what they have to show for their efforts at the end of the day - until they realise that they spent the day building the foundations of frictionless productivity for their team.
That's time well spent: the proverbial stitch in time that saves nine - or saves you from complete unraveling!
As it happens, Caroline's incredible productivity is the ultimate testament to this principle: when you listen deeply, you create the perfect circumstances for your team to break records.
The Savvy Women Podcast is now on iTunes! Subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode.
For more practical tips on how to resolve sticky situations at work, read Caroline's book, The Art of Asking the Right Questions.