What colour HR person are you?

Why did you go into HR? Was it because you are a people person? If so, was that the right career choice? I was chatting with an L&D colleague yesterday whose view was that the ‘Process People’ go into HR and the ‘People People’ go into Training. I am not sure where that leaves the ‘Task People’ who are focused on achieving the goal, perhaps they go into Recruitment or focus on climbing the ladder?

Motives are not the same as behaviours

Obviously, I am stereotyping here by boxing people into just 3 categories broadly based on Dr Elias Porter’s Relationship Awareness Theory that identified 3 primary Motivational Value Systems (M.V.S) – Altruistic-Nurturing, Assertive-Directing, and Analytic-Autonomizing. These are classified as Blue – ‘People People’; Red – ‘Task People’ and Green – ‘Process People’ as part of the SDI or Strength Deployment Inventory a simple personality tool that is useful for self-awareness and training.

The key difference between the SDI and other personality tools is that the underlying premise is that our motives are not the same as our behaviours. The person who is demanding loudly that ‘things need to be done properly around here’ and the person who quietly focuses on meeting deadlines could both be motivated by delivering the Task or Goal but their outward behaviours would be quite different.

The importance of understanding what motivates people

Of course, we tend to judge others by their behaviours as opposed to their motives because we don’t always understand those. However, it is worth investing the time to try and find out. As managers, if we understand what motivates our people then we can adapt goals and our management style to get the best out of them.

As #HRChangeAgents it is even more essential that we understand underlying motives. We need to get underneath the motives of those at the top (which can be different from the stated ones!) But perhaps more importantly, we need to understand what motivates those that the change is being ‘done to’ because that is going to make a difference to how people react and how they want to receive information.

One size does not fit all and as we know change so often fails through human factors. Whatever their own personal preferences, effective #HRChangeAgents must be capable of adapting the message and style of delivery to meet the different preference of the recipients reducing the likelihood of resistance and increasing the chances of buy-in.

What ‘colour’ do you think makes the best #HRChangeAgent?

Learn more about HR Change Agent Consultancy