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HR leaders are strategic business partners that take an active role in achieving a company’s goals. This includes maximizing profitability, boosting efficiency, streamlining operations, mastering compliance, supporting growth, and spawning innovation. It’s pretty safe to say that they play a crucial role in almost every organization around the world.

It’s not wrong to assume that their inability to achieve their full potential would have company-wide repercussions, affecting the day-to-day processes and the bottom line. So what might be holding HR leaders back?

Constant Overwhelming

Constant exposure to pressures from work and family can put anyone in a state of feeling overwhelmed. On a global scale, roughly 14% of people feel chronically overwhelmed. This sense sits at the back of the mind, inhibiting creativity, narrowing vision, and causing disconnects from others. All of these work to stunt professional development.

The negative energy generated by this state will also be felt by others, which can either spread or cause people to keep their distance. This is particularly dangerous for an HR leader who not only needs to direct but also inspire people.

Feeling overwhelmed raises your stress levels and punishes your physical and mental abilities. Instead of being proactive, you become reactive, leading you to operate out of fear or even desperation.

To eliminate this debilitating state, start by acknowledging your emotions and assessing your outlook. Keep in mind that feeling overwhelmed is always a response to a situation, not its cause. Do you find yourself excited or immediately burdened at the start of the day? Are you able to accomplish your priorities without falling behind?

Identifying the triggers, taking a different approach, or adopting an alternative perspective can be empowering. Learn how to prioritize your tasks. Don’t be afraid to challenge your assumptions and engage in double-loop learning. More than just fixing the problem, this style of learning questions all underlying values and beliefs that have made you feel overwhelmed, bringing you back in control.

Also, look to simplify your life by aligning your activities with your goals and by figuring out what’s most important to you. Do some mindfulness and focused attention exercises. Pick up a contact sport like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) that promotes oxytocin and testosterone production. Last but not least, don’t forget to delegate.

The Earned Dogmatism Effect

Another issue that plagues HR leaders and manages to slip below the radar is earned dogmatism. Basically, as people gain more experience, they also tend to assume that they’re expanding their range of thinking. This often leads to “experts” developing a closed mindset to new ideas. They start feeling that they have all the answers and become less accepting of innovation. And together with other preconceived notions that many leaders have, it makes them less receptive and unable to connect.

To work on eliminating this earned dogmatism and other unconscious biases, ask open-ended questions. These encourage others to explore their feelings and provide you with more information than a simple yes or no. Don’t be afraid of the “I don’t know” answer and acknowledge others’ viewpoints, even if you don’t agree.

Are you able to unlock your full potential and avoid these pitfalls? If so, I would really like to know how you’re doing it. If not, I’m more than willing to go into more detail with you.

Let’s connect on or send me a message at

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734