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This February the fabulous Michelle Brailsford taught 15 lucky myHRcareers members how to promote themselves with passion. Now, she’s offering more members the chance to learn this valuable professional skill, and for one lucky member, a free place!  Read her blog to find out why good self promotions is such a skill, and why you need to learn it! 

Michelle is passionate that HR become more passionate about promoting what they do!

Often, Human Resources, along with other staff roles (IT, Facilities Management and Internal Communication departments) find themselves marginalized.  The HR department is viewed as an administrative overhead expense rather than a profitability and productivity enabler. Yet we know that a business strategy cannot be executed well unless you have the right people, with the right technology tools working in an inspiring workplace. Oh, and they need to know what is going on in the business too! One of the main reasons I find HR marginalised in workplaces is their failure to self-promote.

Blind Spot #1:  Thinking results & ideas speak for themselves

Within the industry, there is tremendous pressure to ‘know your stuff’; Compensation modelling, Engagement strategies, Employment Law, Facilitation techniques, Performance Management Systems,  Strategy, Technology, ‘Big Data’ and so much more!  It’s no wonder that HR professionals sometimes focus too much on their content and substance, and too little on organisational politics. Assuming that their work will speak for itself, they focus on doing ‘the work’;  forgetting to promote themselves appropriately.

The idea of self-promotion doesn’t sit well with many Human Resource professionals who have taken a staff role in order to provide support, not be in the ‘limelight’. But HR need to promote their track record of success if they are to become the ‘trusted advisor’.  It is important for HR to promote themselves with passion; both in terms of how the Function supports the business strategy, and what Individuals bring in terms of their unique talents and strengths.

Managing the HR brand and reputation

If I were to ask most HR teams, ‘How many of you feel that hand on heart, you know how you are perceived by your most important stake holders’?, many teams would not know. These teams don’t hold AARs (After Action Reviews) or post-project debriefs to find out what went well in order to recreate the successes. Without this data, it is difficult for HR to take their credit for supporting successful implementation of the business strategy.  Without this data, HR can’t tell a compelling story.  Storytelling is a powerful way to engage the line managers and Sr. Leadership teams that HR support. BTW, they also need to know what didn’t go so well, in order to ‘repair’ any damage that has been done to the HR ‘brand’.

One of my clients was moving from a centralized to decentralized strategy. It required a major shift in resources, but more importantly, a shift in power dynamics.  Long held beliefs about ‘how the work should be done’ had to be shifted also.  HR played a major role in helping engage ‘hearts and minds’ and bring about paradigm shifts.  Without that important culture work, the new business strategy would not have worked and the Function did a brilliant job of making sure the business understood and valued their contribution.

Managing your HR Career

Speaking at a myHRcareers workshop entitled, Promoting Yourself with Passion in March, Michelle Brailsford, Partner, Jupiter Consulting Group, shared that it is important for Individuals to know and be able to speak passionately about their strengths.  Not their technical strengths – knowledge of models, frameworks, employment law or the content per se – but their strengths as defined by CAPP (Centre for Application of Positive Psychology). These are “pre-existing capacities for a particular way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is authentic and energising, and enables optimal functioning, development and performance.”  In other words, you are born with these talents.  When you are using these talents, you feel genuine and ‘your best self’.   When you are using these strengths, you feel energized and ‘in the flow’. Some examples that I see frequently in Human Resource professionals include:

  • Enabler – people strong in enabler create the conditions for people to grow and develop for themselves.

  • Listener – People strong in listener are able to focus and listen intently to what others are saying.

  • Relationship Deepener – people strong in deepener have an ability to form deep, long-lasting relationships.

One of my clients was struggling to get promoted within her HR Team. When I asked her to tell me stories about when she had been at her very best, her stories demonstrated Courage, Change Agent and Narrator.  Once she was able to spot these strengths in herself, she was able to harness them and use them more frequently and in more contexts.  She was also able to ask for assignments where these strengths would get her great results.  Her Manager began to take notice of her, especially when she was ‘in the flow’, and eventually offered her the role of creating an ‘in-house’ change agent network.  She became the spokesperson for the team and drove courageous initiatives throughout the organization.

So let’s remove the blinders and manage our self-talk about Promoting with Passion.

Thinking that our results & ideas speak for themselves is naïve.  Saying to ourselves that the business ‘knows our value’ without us having to state it explicitly is unwise.  And hoping that others will promote our work for us is wishful thinking.

To attend an upcoming workshop around this topic, Organisational Savvy for HR Professionals, see

Michelle is a coach, change & OD consultant who believes business strategy is implemented by people. She believes teams and leaders successfully drive results when they develop authentic connections and productive work relationships



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