part of the job of every manager is to keep a mirror in a drawer and
regularly take it out and use it for two very important public
administration and human resource management purposes. Both are
based on the elementary school teachers maxim that the biggest
room is the room for improvement.
The first use of the mirror
is to see your own reflection. The second use of the powerful mirror
tool is to turn it 180 degrees and use it as an effective
supervisory counseling tool in helping other employees or clients
improve their behavior or performance at work. This concept of
regular self-evaluation and assessment can literally change the
direction of a managers career as well as personal life.
annually, the HR Doctor applies this technique to have an honest,
candid conversation with himself about what kind of person and what
kind of professional he has been in the past year. Hopefully, when I
do this, my lips dont move and I dont talk to myself too loudly so
that others are disturbed.
I ask what I
have learned about myself in the course of interacting with
thousands of people each year. I ask how I have been doing in my
relationships with the people I love most, such as the beautiful HR
spouse, Charlotte, and the incredible HR daughters, Elyse and
Rachel. I ask if I have been a caring and pleasant colleague to
those around me at work and in my community.
I also ask what
I could have done better, and what I have learned from mistakes and
failures. Have I made a positive difference in the lives of others?
Have I done enough work in the community through organizations such
as United Way and working with kids in schools? Have I networked
enough within my own profession to learn from others, and hopefully,
to contribute to the success of other people in Human Resources and
elsewhere in the organization?
Finally, I ask
that balding and slightly chubby-faced man looking back in the
mirror whether I am doing enough to celebrate, have fun, take care
of my own health and invest in joy!
mirror 180 degrees, I can reflect on counseling and supervision. The
best managers, the best elected officials and, in fact, the best
healthcare professionals such as physicians, employee assistance
professionals and others, become masters at the use of the mirror.
A great amount
of my professional time in human resources is spent helping others
see, perhaps for the first time, candidly and professionally, how
they are projecting themselves and their attitudes to others. We all
deliver messages about ourselves in our interactions with other
people by our body language, the words we use, and in our level of
caring, innovating and willingness to be part of a team.
delivers powerful, loud messages to others about what kind of
colleagues we are at work. An HR professional remember, that means
every manager and every elected and appointed official should
become a master of the use of this technique. It is part of
effective supervisory practices, which include performance
evaluation, corrective action when behavior or performances are
slipping, recognition, appreciation, and creating a professional
development plan for an even brighter future for an effective
As the HR
Doctor has written (read, You Have Spinach Between Your Teeth at the
HR Doctors Web site, www.hrdr.net) it takes honesty and openness to
tell another colleague or friend something that may be hard for them
to hear. In reality, some people are open to constructive criticism
but others see it as antagonistic. As with other human resources
issues, the key catalyst ingredient in dealing with others is
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as taught to us by the great HR director, Aretha
evaluation technique can apply in your personal life as well. Ask
for positive and constructively critical feedback from your family
and encourage them to look at themselves in the mirror of
improvement regularly. The technique even works in my relationship
with Kamala, the HR dog. However, in order to get a clear reflection
in your analytical mirror, or for that matter, in the Hubble Space
Telescope, the surface of the mirror must be cleaned and must be
kept polished. Otherwise, reflections are distorted and the result
of using the mirror will not be accurate.
applying this mirror analysis concept with inappropriate motives,
such as to hurt someones feelings, or belittle them or to pressure
them into some behavior unrelated to the workplace, is a great
danger to ethical supervisory practices. Dont do it. Use the
concept for helpful, candid improvement and positive recognition. It
can be a great help.
To borrow a
quote from another great HR professional, Humphrey Bogart, Heres
looking at you, Kid!