People are People

By Steve Browne

If someone saw you at the beginning of your typical work day, what would they see?
Are you looking forward to the day ahead, or is there a sense of dread that something will inevitably go sideways?

If people were honest, I think they face some sense of dread because they envision an inevitable conversation with a co-worker. Isn’t it ironic that as HR professionals, whose entire existence is connected to people, that we get sinking feelings about interacting with others? To be honest, this sinking feeling captures the majority of people as they enter their work day regardless of their role, their level within the company or the department where they work.

Why is that? Are we destined to start each day at the bottom of an emotional hill just anticipating a barrage of boulders to rain down upon us? I think we have a negative approach going into the day because we are not sure how to “handle” conversations when people want to share about their lives.

Act III The Community Series- How are you?

We echo the sentiments of the incredible new wave giants, Depeche Mode, and their epic song People Are People in the lyrics –

“People are people, so why should it be You and I should get along so awfully”

We assume the worst is going to happen even before a single word is uttered. In fact, we bristle even when we greet each other. We hope and pray that the interaction happens quickly and in a passing by manner. Most greetings go like this . . .

“Good Morning, Steve !! How are you?”

“Hi Michelle, I’m fine. You?”

“I’m good.”


And then we quickly pass each other thankful that we got that out of the way so we can get on to more “important” things like work, email, or anything not involving any personal sharing. I think this is a HUGE miss !! People want to be seen, heard and connect. This isn’t a matter of introversion or extroversion, it’s a fact of being a human. When organizations consistently say that people are their number one asset, value, etc., but don’t encourage genuine interactions between folks, it’s a giant corporate catchphrase of hypocrisy.

When we keep cloaking our interactions under the veil of only talking about work or the tasks at hand, we honestly get less then ideal results and production. It’s true. The more we are formal, aloof and only converse about “things” we miss the intelligence, creativity and imagination of the people we’re talking to.

The value of taking the time to talk about personal happenings in the lives of those around us is the best time investment you can make in any day. 

The reason it’s so valuable is that the few minutes it takes to check in and see what’s going on in the life of the person you’re talking to gives you a deeper connection. You’re filling the emotional bucket of each other and your conversations will be more open, candid and forthright.  I understand that you need to be respectful, appropriate and professional. Those are given foundational blocks of any interaction. Again, come at this from a positive aspect to start.

Remember – people are people. So, let’s start making our interactions intentional, meaningful and valued !!

For more information about Steve Browne click here

Published by Michelle Harte

My name is Michelle Harte and I have worked in HR and OD for over 20 years. I have a passion for learning and growing.

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