5 Habits That Make You a Bad HR Pro

Tim Sackett Bad HR, HR, Tim Sackett, Trench HR

Every new year I start to think about how I can make myself better for the upcoming year – what did I do well, what do I need to stop doing and what do I need to do more of.  As I began to think about those things recently, I started to notice habits that creep up from time to time that hinder my own performance. Also, recognizing habits of my staff that are holding them back from reaching their full potential (oh great, they are saying right now!).  This came full circle when I thought of what it is that makes great HR pros great, and what habits are holding us back as a profession, so here’s my list:

    1. You send an email (or G*d forbid text) before walking over or calling the person you want to get your message to.  HR is about relationships – if you don’t like this – you are in the wrong profession.Picking-nose-1
    2. You have a hiring hang-up.  A what? You won’t hire someone, ever, for some stupid reason – they went to State U., they didn’t shake your hand firmly enough during introductions, they worked at a job less than a year, etc.
    3. You have compensation issues.  It drives you crazy that people in other parts of the business make considerably more than you (IT, sales/marketing, etc.) for a similar line-level position.  If you want to make more money, then go into one of those areas – otherwise shut it.
    4. You have a power complex. A what? You feel good about your “perceived” ability to control someone else’s professional life.  “Well, you better never wear those flip flops on a Thursday again or I’m going to have to write you up.”
    5. You believe HR is more important than the rest of the business. But, Tim – nothing is more important than our People!  Stop it – stop focusing on you and focus on how to help everyone else – that makes you valuable.  Use your “power” in HR for good, and make everyone else’s life easier.


Do you really want to be a better HR Pro, right now, today? I mean really?  I don’t mean New Year’s Resolution, right now?  I mean actually small incremental steps of making you a better HR Pro.

Alright then – do these things often:

  • Go talk face to face with your line peers in other functions and ask them what is their biggest challenge they are facing. Not HR challenge (although it might be), but overall challenge. Figure out a way to help them – not as a HR pro – but really help solve their problem (this is what “Business Partner” means for all of you with the HR Business Partner title).
  • Go talk to them again.
  • And again.

But, Tim! I don’t know anything about software architecture. So, it doesn’t manner, they tell you, they will walk you through it, you’ll use your smarts to find ways to be helpful and most importantly “they” will feel supported.  And you – will be a better HR Pro for it.