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Key skills and characteristics of good HR leaders

Key skills and characteristics of good HR leaders
Every Human Resource (HR) leader is unique and displays varying strengths and weaknesses, but all good HR leaders exhibit one essential quality. This quality is the ability to articulate and demonstrate an understanding of the operations and processes that are in place in an organistaion and how they are designed to help the organistaion achieve the goals and objectives that have been set for it. Having the ability to communicate this understanding and to be able to converse articulate this understanding with their peers demonstrates a foundational basis of the skills and characteristics that make a ‘good’ HR leader.

An understanding of business structures and processes and the ability to communicate this understanding still needs to be coupled with other key characteristics and skills, some mentioned below, in order to ensure that HR, and the HR leader, help organisations to remain sustainable, grow and to achieve goals and objectives.

Below is a list of some other key characteristics and skills that, together, contribute to the skill sets of ‘good’ HR leaders.

Key skills and characteristics

Being a change leader

A ‘good’ HR leader will embrace and encourage change and innovation thus contributing to sustainability and growth.

Being an effective communicator

A ‘good’ HR leader is a good communicator and has an ability to listen and to understand as well as an ability to pass on this understanding.

Being a strategic and analytical thinker

The skill of being able to identify opportunities and threats to an organisation demonstrates that the HR leader is proactive and not reactive; this allows time to plan and put in place strategies to take advantage of market changes.

Demonstrating credibility

Being viewed as credible by your peers identifies a ‘good’ HR leader as someone that can be trusted.

Being results orientated and performance driven

A ‘good’ HR leader is acutely aware of the need to benchmark and review results in order to outperform the competition.

The ability to be able to persuade

This is another positive trait of a ‘good’ HR leader but this only comes when the foundations of understanding and the ability to communication this understanding are in place. The skill to be able to persuade helps demonstrate an ability to influence others and to drive change and innovation.

Demonstrating ethical behavior

This is the glue that binds all these skills together, it helps to build trust and this is a necessary ingredient for all successful change and innovation.

These skill sets are not exhaustive and all need to be practiced, refined and modified. During your next 360 degree feedback session ask how you are going in terms of demonstrating these skills. Practice and seek feedback to be better at what you do as a HR leader and you will not just be a ‘good’ HR leader but a ‘great’ HR leader.

About the Author: Fiona Lang

Fiona Lang
Fiona Lang is an experienced human resources consultant, line manager and financial controller. She has designed and delivered feedback, training and development programs for organisations in the government, non-profit and corporate sectors. She has worked across Australia in management positions for ANZ bank, Citibank and the National Australia Bank Group. She holds a B.A. (Psychology) and Dip.FP.

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