Leaders Lead: Supporting Human Resources and Reducing Burnout

In many companies, Human Resources tends to be the catch-all for any issue that may arise.

Disgruntled employees go to HR. 

Leadership also turns to HR. 

Resources must be replenished. 

Human Resources is no exception. 

Leaders may take a few steps to support HR:

1.  Ask what each individual, as well as the team, needs ~ Too often organizational leaders start guessing about what an employee or group of employees wants. They may offer what they might wish to receive when feeling stressed or burnt out. Or consider what worked for one person at one point in the past. You may certainly try to guess what someone needs, and if you do, be sure you hear directly from that person that your guess is accurate. It proves more helpful to ask what someone needs. (You may find a resource for naming needs at https://brucknermediation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Naming-Needs-One-Pager.pdf).

2. Acknowledge what you hear – Regardless of whether you think the person or team “should” need what they request, acknowledge what you hear. Consider what the underlying need might be, i.e., appreciation, clarity, freedom, meaning, purpose, respect, support, understanding, etc.) What you hear may not reflect underlying need. Acknowledge the words you hear by reflecting back the exact words or summarize what you hear. Then you may wish to say, “it sounds like you really wish for _______.” (Insert a need from the naming needs list above). The person will tell you whether or not you are correct. You may invite the person to share what helps them feel like the need is being met. (i.e., what support would be most helpful to you, what helps you feel respected, or what does appreciation look like or mean to you?)

3. Answer the request – You may not be able to give the person exactly what is requested. It is still important to respond with both an acknowledgement and an answer. Make sure it is a real answer with a real commitment to address the issue. If you need to investigate it, say when you will get back to the person and then follow up as promised. Doing what you say you are going to do builds trust. If you do not have a clear answer, say you do not have a clear answer yet, and when they can expect to hear from you next. Explore ideas and options that suggest you really understand the underlying need. If a person or team asks for support and understanding, take action that demonstrates support and understanding. While appreciation or clarity are important needs, that may not be the request now. If you express appreciation when the person really wants support, your action may not be helpful (and lead to frustration for everyone involved). Be sure your answer aligns with what you learned in number one (asking) and number two (acknowledging). 

Too often, HR works to meet the needs of everyone else in the organization, and their own needs go unmet.

As a leader, you may help increase satisfaction and reduce the level of HR burnout. 

Of course, you may feel like you already have a full plate without being the support for HR. 

If you are not in the place, space, or lack the current capacity to provide the support, seek outside help.

Before approaching the conversation, you may wish to check in with yourself and assess your own needs and reflect on your level of personal peace. (You may find a complimentary resource for doing so at https://brucknermediation.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Personal-Peace-Reflection.pdf)

Your personal energy, including the level of compassion and curiosity you bring to the situation, plays an important role when offering support. Checking in with yourself allows you to bring your best self to the situation. 

Bruckner Mediation offers a variety of conflict resolution and peacebuilding modalities, including coaching, mediation, and training. Reach out today to find out which might best support the needs, values, and wishes of you or your organization. 

As always, be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.

Sherry Ann Bruckner

Sherry Ann Bruckner

Most widely known as Lonzo's human, mediator, speaker, and author Sherry Ann Bruckner works with leaders and organizations to create peace, resolve conflict, and transform visions into results.

From her twenty-plus years' experience practicing civil and family law, and her own personal experiences with silence and violence, Sherry Ann understands how much inner peace impacts outer peace. A graduate of Hamline University's College of Liberal Arts and William Mitchell College of Law, she also studied conflict resolution at Rothberg International School in Jerusalem. Sherry serves as a neutral on matters ranging from bias and employment discrimination to marriage dissolution and caring for aging parents. A speaker and trainer on the global stage, Sherry gives you and your audience practical skills and the confidence to use embrace your personal power to create peace. Through helping thousands of people navigate their way through conflict, and finding her own way to inner peace, she shares the transformational power of clarity, compassion, curiosity, and cribbage.

Visit brucknermediation.com/services to learn more or give her a call at (320) 808-3212.
Sherry Ann Bruckner

Be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.