HR Leaders & Safety Leaders: You Can’t Blow an Uncertain Trumpet!

Written by Claire E. Knowles on . Posted in Courage, Human Relations, Leadership, Safety Leaders, Sense of Purpose


“The very essence of Leadership is that you have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet!” (This quote, by Theodore Hesburgh, sets the stage).

Have you heard the rumbles and rumors about people who are appointed/promoted to supervisory/managerial positions but lack this essential competency—the courage factor? The elephant-in-the-room syndrome becomes evident when organizational underground voices start sharing in frustration, “I wish he/she would lead….or get out of the way.” Followers want leaders they can follow, and whom they respect; they want leaders who clearly know and articulate their vision, are certain where they are going and will courageously lead forward! They blow a certain trumpet!

We’ve all experienced this in organizations. There are great leaders, great safety leaders, and great HR leaders. And there are others that are not. We all know that leading makes you more visible and more open to criticism. Leading is riskier than following. (As Lombardo/Eichinger note in For Your Improvement, “The heat is the hottest on the nose cone of the rocket!”)

Do you, as a Leader, blow a certain trumpet? Some Human Resource Managers and Safety Professionals are not immune from being labeled “wishy-washy leaders”, position-changing, or weak in crisis moments. Some of that stems from individuals being conflict/crisis-avoidant, unwilling to take/defend a firm stand, unwilling to take the heat, and fears over criticism/failure. Some simply do not get out of their offices to fully understand what is happening in their workplace. It doesn’t have to be that way! Learning to blow a certain trumpet…is a skill-set that can be learned.
Consider these certain trumpet-blowing skills:
*Knowing appropriate models and frameworks that help you sort through the conflicts, isolating the troublesome elements so they can be addressed.
*Learning to relish leading—finding the rewards, finding energy and confidence in tough challenges, by developing a philosophical stance toward failure and criticism.
*Taking an unpopular stand, facing adversity head-on, through developing a secure leadership presence.
*Learning to keep your cool and stay composed.
*Increasing one’s Emotional Intelligence capacity.
*Walking the talk, engaging earnestly with your people.
All of these are doable, coachable, courageous leadership-command skills.

In my Amazon best-selling book, “Can You See Them Now? (Elephants in our Midst)”, there are a dozen different ways that leaders can learn to lead with certainty—discovering the hidden elephants that are lurking in themselves, their organizations, groups and work-teams; and learning as competent, courageous leaders, how to address them effectively and with a sense of certainty.

Here’s a most-relevant postscript:
“In really good companies, you have to lead. You have to come up with big ideas and express them forcefully. I have always been encouraged—or sometimes forced—to confront the very natural fear of being wrong. I was constantly pushed to find out what I really thought and then to speak up. Over time, I came to see that waiting to discover which way the wind was blowing is an excellent way to learn how to be a follower.” ~Roger Enrico, former CEO, PepsiCo

Claire Knowles
Consultant, Speaker, 2-time Amazon best-selling Author

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