A lot has been written in the past week about Tim Russert. Lots of people weighing in about how unfair it seems, the great stories about Russert, what he meant to his team, etc.
Why so much heartfelt coverage? Because Russert appeared to the masses as he was viewed by those around him – as a genuine good guy with lots of talent. Fair, Balanced, and someone to model your professional approach by.
Here’s what I learned about dealing with people from Tim Russert:
–Don’t interject your opinion into the conversation unless it’s relevant – I just found out via a web search that Russert was reportedly a Democrat. I also saw a lot of rants that said he was liberal. After years of watching him, I wasn’t sure and didn’t have the need to look it up until now. Needless to say, from my vantage point, Russert was fairly objective when dealing with issues and individuals. At least in comparison with the shouting culture that is at the center of so many political shows.
–Put everyone at ease with some stage banter – I loved how Russert would engage in some small talk before getting down to business, and end a lot of conversations, no matter how heated, with the same. Isn’t that the essence of being reasonable? Shouldn’t we all being doing that with those we work with?
–You can be an "A" player without being a jerk – Russert had a reputation as a great one, but also had a "nice guy" reputation as well. It proves you can be both if you take the time…
–At the end of the day, you’re judged not by the number of carcasses you dragged in, but the fact you were good at what you did, and most importantly – if you were a good person – how you conducted yourself daily – No one remembers how much you beat quota by. Just that you hit quota, were viewed by all as talented, and treated people classy on your way up. That’s what they’re talking about once you’re no longer a part of the pack…
Of course, that last one isn’t limited to Russert, but came into focus pretty clearly after his death. What do you want people to say about you? We can all probably use the untimely death of Russert to make at least one better choice today.
RIP Tim Russert…
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.