Human resources is a vital function for an organization’s survival. With the proper tools, a good HR department can turn sticky problems around, increase revenues, and lead/challenge the organization to become better overall. The only problem?
Many organizations lack strong human resources leadership.
That fault may be intra-organization or intra-department. If the human resources staff has weak leadership, then there’s a good chance that HR within the entire organization is weak as well. If the organization has weak leadership, then there’s a good chance that they won’t give HR a chance to shine. Whatever the case, weakness like that can cripple an organization.
We All Know and Hate It
A few months back, in a fit of unsuppressed Twitter rage, I wrote a quick comment about how I was tired of HR people who dance around tough issues, avoid actions that would give them more credibility/responsibility, and generally are content to exist as spineless wimps. That comment gathered more retweets (in other words, people thought it was important enough to share with their own followers) than anything else I’ve ever said. That has to say something for the state of affairs out there with regard to human resources and leadership, right?
HR really needs both leaders and leadership. Within the profession as a whole, we have some amazing HR leaders pouring out our ears. But they can’t do your work for you. You have to step up and be a bold leader in your department and your organization.
5 Ways to be an HR leader
- Take care of your people-Do you think your employees will look to you as a leader if they don’t think that you really care and want the best for them? (Hint: no!)
- Look for ways to innovate-Find new ways to compensate your people. Switch up your recruiting strategy. Gather some metrics and do some forecasting. When people see you coming up with fresh, exciting ideas, they’ll naturally be more interested in listening to you at other times, too.
- Stand your ground when it counts-When it really counts, and you are pressured to make a hard choice, you’re going to forever remember what you chose to do. Whether it’s an ethical question or one where your gut is telling you that something’s a bad idea, stand your ground. Leaders make the tough choices.
- Finish what you start. Cutting out when the going gets tough is a surefire way to lose credibility in the field of human resourcesÂ leadership.
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Ben- I agree that we can use more HR pros who are in leadership roles who step up and actually lead. I would also add that not everyone is cut out to be a leader. So, I’d add that great leaders need the skills and the drive to not only keep themselves motivated, but their entire team. They also need to appreciate the employees who will never be a leader but who have great ideas to share.
Good advice! Very good tips on how to be a more effective HR leader. I especially agree with #2 and #5. It is important to keep things fresh and new as well as always continuing your education.
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