HRA Blog

Mindfulness and Leadership – Go Hand in Hand?

Written by Barbara Irwin on .

I’ve been in the business world close to 30 years (ugh, let’s not think about that too much), and I’ve seen so many trends in leadership and management. Management by Walking Around (MBO), the 60 Second Manager, 360 leadership feedback, leadership assessment tools, just to name a few. Where does mindful leadership fit in? Would you even associate the two words together?

Often, when people think of mindfulness, they think about meditation, yoga, breathing techniques or some other practice, but they may not necessarily associate it with leadership and/or business in general.

I would contend that the two absolutely go hand-in-hand. We live in a fast-paced society where technology changes daily, new ideas are brought forth and sometimes discarded at breakneck speed. To be successful in our organizations, we have to not only keep up with the latest and greatest, but we’re tasked with being one step ahead of our competitors, all while having to pay attention to what’s happening in the moment.

Mindfulness is the idea that we should be present in the moment and be aligned with everything we are doing in our daily lives (both personally and professionally). On its face, it doesn’t feel like it belongs in our fast paced business lives, but it should be.

There are some great articles from Harvard Business Review that examine this subject matter that really spurred some thinking for me.

The qualities of a mindful leader – focus, clarity, creativity, compassion and courage – these are tremendous qualities that individuals need in order to cope with the many business challenges that leaders often face. It provides leaders the resolve to think through rapid obstacles in order to sustain long-term success

The idea that leaders are walking, journaling, taking time to reflect on the moment, may sound like a novel idea, but I would contend that truly great leaders take time to reflect and ask themselves some key questions about what they can do differently, what mistakes did they or their organization make and how they can learn from them. Taking even a brief moment from the hustle and bustle can make you a better leader.

Many organizations are now offering ‘mindfulness’ classes to their employees such as yoga, meditation and other positive programs that can have a great impact on their employees’ lives. I suggest that you take a moment and center yourself, leverage these principles into becoming a better leader. You’ll be surprised to find the impact they might have.

However you choose to do it, taking a moment to reflect, will have extraordinary impact on your ability to lead and make decisions in this fast paced business world. Namaste!

Job Descriptions – The New Year Resolution Worth Keeping

Written by Mary Lake on .

The first two weeks of January, 2016 are behind us. Many resolutions have been made, both personal and professional, in the hopes of making our lives healthier, happier and more organized. As you set off to tackle these resolutions, I would suggest an additional one that will have the same impact on your employees and organization – update the job descriptions for all of your employees.

Job descriptions play an integral role within an organization. They set expectations, goals and objectives, are crucial as recruiting tools and help potential candidates and all employees to clearly understand the responsibilities for their position within the organization. However, what I’ve discovered over the years is that too often job descriptions are only updated when a vacancy needs to be filled or there are compliance issues.

In today’s hectic and ever changing business environment, roles and responsibilities are constantly changing. New technology, organizational processes and procedures, and increases and decreases in staffing, all have an impact on a job function and expectation. It is essential that job descriptions are reviewed and evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that both employee and employer understand the exact parameters of each position and how it impacts the overall organization.

During 2015, HR Advisors Group assisted several clients with their review of organizational job descriptions and career paths in several different capacities. During these engagements, we offer three paths to our clients to update their job descriptions by taking into account the number of employees, the size of the HR staff and the resources available to the individual organization.

  1. Have supervisors and employees update job descriptions during employee reviews
  2. Charge HR with the responsibility to review and update all current job descriptions
  3. Outsource the responsibility for job description review and updating to a consultant

Let’s take a quick look at each option and examine the benefits and shortcomings inherent to each.

Have supervisors and employees update job descriptions during employee reviews – This is an excellent opportunity to go directly to the source. The employee has the chance to review and discuss in detail all responsibilities associated with the position and identify any changes that have occurred in the last year. The supervisor can examine these responsibilities and make appropriate changes. The disadvantage to this approach is that often reviews can be a delicate conversation and there isn’t enough time to discuss job descriptions as they have to address immediate concerns with an employee’s performance.

Charge HR with the responsibility to review and update all current job descriptions – Today’s HR professionals are familiar with creating comprehensive job descriptions and career paths. Their involvement ensures that they contain language that meets all legal requirements. This option does require HR to connect with employees and supervisors to confirm any adjustments to the job description due to organizational changes in processes and technology. This option can require significant resources dependent on the size of the organization. In addition, the timeliness of completing the initiative will be dependent on the other responsibilities competing for the HR representative’s time.  A solution would be to make this a “goal” for the individual HR representative or HR Department.

Outsource the responsibility for job description review and update to a consultant – When the size of the organization and the time requirements for a thorough review of job descriptions require more time and resources than is available internally, working with an outside consultant is often a fiscally sound option for reviewing job descriptions. A competent, outside HR consultant will have deep experience with writing job descriptions that contain the legal language necessary for a comprehensive description. The consultant will be able to review current organizational processes and procedures and identify positions where they will need to be updated. After an initial review of the job descriptions, the HR consultant can meet with employees to confirm any changes or additions to the job requirements. Upon completion of the updated job descriptions, the HR consultant can review the changes with a member of the HR Department for accuracy.

Regardless of which option is chosen, it is vital for any organization to go through a periodic review of job descriptions. This exercise will ensure that all job descriptions are accurate and that the current and future needs of the organization are met.