Top management lesson - get your hands dirty

Alan Price – CEO at BrightHR

July 06 2015

Sometimes, you just have to roll up your sleeves and get on with the job. I have a rule, more of a mantra, never ask someone to do something that you would not be willing to do yourself. This is something that I think is essential in management, if you ask someone to undertake a task then you have to be willing to do it yourself. I have a team of HR professionals who, on a daily basis, manage our 24 hour advice support service that provides advice on HR and H&S issues to 32,000 clients. As you can imagine, our advisory service receives thousands of calls and therefore I expect a lot from my teams, on a daily basis they face a considerable amount of advice requests from trivial issues to more complex situations, however we have service levels to follow ensuring that we provide our clients with the best advice. Now for me to ask a lot from my colleagues means that I myself must be willing to assist, in fact I not only help support my advisers but will often handle some of the calls myself, this affords me a better understanding of the challenges the teams have to face. In addition, I’m able to get a first-hand understanding of how as a department we work; how we can perform better, and what additional resources the team may need. For example, we provide a comprehensive library for our HR professionals to help increase their knowledge base, we offer one-to-one training on complex HR issues or forthcoming changes in employment legislation, allowing our advisers to offer our clients the best in advice. It is only by getting involved myself, undertaking the job that I ask of my colleagues each day, do I attain a better understanding of how my team works. In addition it allows me to provide them with the best tools possible so they can perform the job adequately. Furthermore I have found that I am able to obtain the support and cooperation of my colleagues, especially when I assign them work or ask them to do something. So remember, never ask someone to do something that you would not be willing to undertake yourself - otherwise you run the risk of losing the respect of your fellow workers and colleagues.

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