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Home > News > “Manage the energy, not just the work.”

October 15, 2020

“Manage the energy, not just the work.”

What would you ask an HR Director who had held the most senior people positions within high-profile organisations like Essex Fire & Rescue, Essex Ambulance Service and Ofwat and had just accepted the interim Director of People role at media beleaguered Ofqual?

Would you want to know how they’ve thrived in those high-pressure environments? How they cope with the press intrusion? How they guide board-level decisions, or how they develop their team?

And what type of person goes for HR Director positions where you could find yourself on the front page of a tabloid newspaper?

Delegates on our Academy for Aspiring HR Directors had this exact opportunity, as we were recently joined for an online HRD Masterclass by Lindsey Stafford-Scott – who as indeed held all those roles and more.

Lindsey spoke about the need to use evidence to base your decisions on, giving you credibility and focus. She said this was most important when it came hunting out an organisation’s blind spots: “Just because there isn’t any casework relating to a certain topic, it doesn’t mean there’s not a problem. You need to listen for what’s not being said, as well as what is.”

Her career choices have taken her into environments where resistance to change meant huge levels of resilience and belief were needed. “You have to assume you have something to add and own your space,” says Lindsey. “If you know that what you are wanting to achieve will be a stretch, then that’s fine. Push yourself, be diligent in your preparation and speak to the right people. You don’t need to be the expert in everything, you need to have the right team of experts working with you.”

Within HR, as in many other industries, there’s an odd assumption that public sector and private sector remain apart – and your career follows either one path or the other. While Lindsey’s career has developed through public sector positions, she doesn’t believe the two are mutually exclusive. She says: “Where I work is about being where I can really see a purpose. I would never say that public sector positions are better or worse than private sector, it’s really about where you see your purpose and values fitting with those of the organisation.”

Lindsey also shared stories and insights about applying for HRD roles, the interview process, leading HR teams and influencing board decisions. For our group of delegates, hearing first hand experiences from HRDs is a hugely valuable learning opportunity, and we are always appreciative of the time HR Directors such as Lindsey give to the Academy.

If you are an HR Manager or senior HRBP and are considering your career move to a director position, then applications are now open for our 2021 Academy for Aspiring HR Directors.

Starting in March next year, the 12 month programme covers the skills most needed for those in HR leadership roles, alongside a dedicated coach and regular opportunities to hear from HR Directors and business leaders.

For more information visit our HRD Academy website page.