The moniker “thought leader” continues to be tossed about in the HR space and it appears that it won’t be going away anytime soon. It’s both a catchphrase and a buzzword. It’s easily accessible shorthand to let flow from one’s lips or out of the ends of one’s fingers as they dance across a keyboard. “Listen to what s/he says,” someone announces. “S/he’s a though leader.”‘
I got to thinking about this over the course of the HRFL13 State Conference & Expo as I had conversations with HR professionals in the hallways, at the after-hours festivities, or after session presentations. And I concluded that everyone working in HR can be – no wait, let me amend that – IS a thought leader.
Well known for our navel gazing (but trust me, people in other fields do this too) we HR practitioners the world over attempt to define HR’s value and assert our relevance. And we doubt ourselves – from the newbie HR Generalist to the most senior CHRO.
Doubt can be our friend however. By doubting the value of what we do and, by extension, our core existence perhaps we’re ultimately showing our relevance by the very act of the doubting (h/t Descartes). Both those who push the envelope and those who remain steadfast in their resolve to maintain the status quo have questioned whether their role exists on some plane of necessity. Just because someone has decided to practice HR in a certain way – and not the way some thought-leader has told them to – doesn’t mean they neither exist nor provide value in their particular situation or circumstances.
I say that the very act of thinking about what we do means we are all “HR thought leaders.” All of us. From that entry level newbie to that most senior CHRO.
We can own that.
“cogito ergo sum”