Quite ofthe I am critized by HR for using "I" in discussions when communicating with them only (I am a General Manager of a significant Division in my Company). It usually involves a troubled employee or an HR issue. I am an a leadership role with Project Managers, engineers etc. When I address my DRs I always use "WE". I cannot understand why HR would jump at me when I am discussing a personnel issue for using the term me or I. BTW I am reading the 33 Stratigies of War and it is very good.

Any insight would be helpfull as my relatinship with HR is becoming strained. :cry:

jhack's picture

You used the word 'I' or 'my' or 'me' at least ten times in your post. That's more than once per sentence.

It's unconcious. Often it's a way of taking responsibility, or making sure others know it's only our opinion we're stating. Sometimes, it's self centered-ness. It will you make you sound self centered even if that isn't your intent or character.

I had a boss who helped me with this same issue (there's that word again). It was a struggle, because I (doh!) had to overcome a lifetime of talking a certain way.

But things are better because of it. You can do it, too. Write down what you've said. Read it. Reword it so that you are not using I-Me-Mine.

Like this:

- My(!) peers and superiors in particular are more engaged with my(!) ideas when I(!) depersonalize them.
- Peers and superiors respond more positively now that the ideas are presented in a non-self-centered fashion.

Effective communication with HR is your responsibility. They won't change, unless you change first. And you can't win by insisting "I'm OK."


Jaybird's picture

jhack, thanks for the advice. I can see how this may miss lead my people. When talking with them the use of "I" is not pemitted. Concenous effort is made to avoid the word. This particular situation was a discussion with a Director of HR in which problems in late deliveries and engineering were occuring within the group based upon HR's decision not to allow "me" to occasionally micro-manage. The conversation was a description on how to bring about change to achieve goals, which totally involved "my" moving from a 30,000 foot overview down into a teaming effort with the team. He(she) pointed out the use of "I" rather than provide support or creative /direction on how to handle the proposed situation.
The thoughts and take-aways from the meeting were a confussed opinion on what the company position would be due to the plan.



WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

HR isn't always right. We're not always right. Maybe they didn't know you do use "we" when working with your directs. Maybe you could use "I" less often. Maybe the person in HR has a fetish for saying "we." Maybe HR just doesn't realize that you did get their point.

"I appreciate all the help you give me on personnel issues. I do use "we" when I'm working with my directs. I recognize the value of teamwork and the importance of including everyone. But using "we" seems awkward in our conversations here."

Not every suggestion is spot on the money.