Make HR – Human Resources – an ally, not an adversary. We all know there’s a comical stereotype out there, popularized by Toby Flenderson on The Office: the bumbling, obstructionist bureaucratic HR staffer. And Toby was funny, for sure. Don’t let him scare you away.

For years of corporate management, I found my HR contacts (and I picked and chose them carefully, I wouldn’t just work closely with anyone) to be an invaluable sounding board. I’d get to know them and build a relationship. They’d get to know me and my management style. What would I work with them on? A variety of management matters:

  • A sounding board on delicate personnel issues where the answer wasn’t immediately clear (as is often the case).
  • For training and development ideas and suggestions.
  • Risk management (protect the company and yourself) during a termination process.
  • For general organizational insights, assistance with “reorgs,” etc.