The Masks we hide behind every day.

By Bill Murray

March 13, 2019

In a talk yesterday with a colleague and friend, the light shined on the topic of having that person close to you that you can reach out to and completely remove the masks you wear throughout your daily roles in life.  My friend had said to me that they had no one to sit in the dark and talk about the pain they were going through. After talking through what was going on, I started asking myself “how many people actually have seen me remove my masks?”

You know the masks you wear? Business professional? Consultant? CEO? COO? Clown/Joker? Intellectual? Mom? Dad? Partner? Son? Daughter? Husband? Wife? Cat lover?

There are expectations with each mask that you wear throughout your days. We build and create these expectations in our own head. When you are in a dark moment in your life who sees that mask removed? Who hears your true thoughts? Who can know exactly how you are feeling and not what you are presenting to the world? Every day we present to the world the masks that have been molded over time.

I started asking many people this question and realized that most people have zero to 2 people that have seen them raw, real, without their masks. I only bring this up today because as managers we see masks on our team all day.  Then occasionally that high performing team member will do something so far out of the norm, and we treat the situation with HR politically correct rules and act legally correct and completely ignore the chance to help a human being. And not all companies, managers, and leaders do this, BUT in my experience most do. They are so quick to protect the company with rules and procedures. I find it funny that the word “Human” is even in Human Resources.

Instead of the HR rule book and checklist, why not ask; what is going on? Why not state this is so far out of the ordinary for you and I want to see if we can help you? Is there something that happened at home or outside work that led to his behavior? I see and hear in the world around me in working with so many businesses and clients that HR protocol breaks the chance to help a human being. I do understand our need to protect the company, however, can’t we be a little more human with our Human Capital?

Does your company have an EAP (Employee Assistance Program))?  This is a great way to provide that professional help in a non-threatening way, combined with your listening and leadership.

What are your thoughts on HR protocol and taking the time to be a human being to a person in need? Do you ask the personal questions to help another person?

Could you imagine the impact we could have if more people cared about the human being and not about the HR policy and procedure?

There is no wrong or right to these questions, it is only opinions. Please leave your thoughts.