As a Human Resources (HR) or Support Services professional, you have expertise that is critical for the survival and growth of your organization. You have expertise, and you can offer it by playing anyone of three consulting roles at work.

Unfortunately, you may often find yourself being underutilized, overworked with transactional tasks, and being told to “fix” things and people. Is this true for you?

Do You Find Yourself Frustrated When…

  • Your leaders come to you at the last minute and tell you to implement something?
  • You aren’t involved early enough in the process to influence decisions and share your ideas?
  • Most of your day is spent putting out “fires” and expending energy on non-strategic issues?
  • You have so much more expertise to offer the organization, but they don’t appreciate it or even ask you for it?
  • You are asked to “handle” tough conversations, “problem” people, and fix them?

This is probably not the way you want to be treated. Instead, you want to have your expertise utilized, and be treated as a trusted advisor.

The issue is that others, including managers and clients, don’t know how to best utilize your expertise, so they default to the quickest option: tell you what to do.

But There Is Good News

You may be able to dislodge others from a default way of treating you at work. You can adjust your own approach by leveraging the three consulting roles to have your expertise better utilized.

But before you do, be aware that you may have unintentionally trained your leaders to treat you the way they do.

Here’s what I mean.

Many leaders, in the spirit of customer satisfaction, often operate with the mentality that “the customer is always right.” In this frame, you are then utilized for “fixing” things and implementing their ideas in order to resolve problems.

Leaders then create conditions where you end up agreeing to do what clients tell you to do, even when it’s not the best thing for them or the organization. And if you attempt to push back or disagree with your clients, they get upset and even escalate a complaint to our boss.

There is a better way

You have the power and opportunity to change the conversations you are having with clients and your own leadership. You can start including the topic of how to best utilize your expertise by intentionally offering the role you’ll play.

We have found that HR and Support Service professionals can fall into three consulting roles.

The 3 Consulting Roles

The Three Consulting Roles

  1. Expert Role – They count on you to fix things with your expertise, and they don’t want you to be involved in the diagnosis or solution. “Make it go away” is their mantra.
  2. Pair of Hands Role – They come to you with their solution, and they want you to implement it. “Don’t ask questions, just get it done for me.” You end up being an “order taker” and implementing suboptimal solutions. Sometimes these solutions can cause harm to people and the organization.
  3. Collaborative Role – You share the responsibility and accountability with the leaders to diagnose and develop solutions. Your expertise is equally utilized along with their expertise.

Learn More

If you want to know which of the three consulting roles you are playing at work, then we invite you to take our free Role Orientation Quiz. You’ll receive your results and a short report about the roles, their advantages, and their disadvantages. You can then begin the process of choosing the role you really want to play. Click here to find out how.