10 signs of outstanding HR leaders

John Sherman

Outstanding leaders know that their most valuable asset is their team. You could have the most cutting edge equipment and facilities and they would be useless without the right people using them!

In order to find these people, there’s no question that you need outstanding HR leadership. Here are some characteristics to help you identify the difference between a good HR leader and an outstanding one.

1.   Having a Deep Understanding of the Business

Having this high level of domain knowledge will not only help the HR department make the right appointment, it will also help them to monitor and provide guidance to staff in the future—essentially nurturing the talent they’ve helped acquire.

2.   Embracing Criticism

The best HR leaders will have an open mind and be ready to adapt to changes. When criticism shows up, they’ll listen to what people are saying and consider their points. The best leaders are always prepared to make improvements when necessary, and this is especially true when it comes to managing people.

3.   Facing Challenges Head On

The most challenging jobs are often the ones that are the most rewarding.  Completing the more difficult challenges will often help you to get ahead while competing HR departments are still ambling along taking the easy option to make life easier for themselves. Although facing tough jobs may be challenging in the short-term, it will help to make life a lot easier for you in the long term. If there’s a challenging job that needs to be done, an outstanding HR manager will tackle it with enthusiasm.

4.   Not Being a Stickler

Although the rules should apply equally to everybody, there are times when an individual may have a legitimate reason for thinking outside of the box. If there is a genuine case where a talented member on your staff bends the rules a bit, you might want to consider the outcome of their actions before reprimanding them. They may discover a better or more efficient way of accomplishing a task and this could have huge benefits in the long run.

5.   Staying Informed About New Tools

A study has shown that recruiters that used social media in their recruitment efforts saw a 49% improvement in the quality of candidates when compared to traditional methods. As technology around us changes—and the world along with it—it’s important for any leader to be adaptable to the changing environment otherwise they risk being left behind.  When new tools are made available the best leaders will be willing to embrace them as they could make a big difference to the company’s bottom line. The best HR leaders will always be up to date on cutting-edge human resources technology.

6.   Listening

Listening and understanding other people is a science and an art. Here’s a strategy that can help you get better results out of your staff:question you have asked them. Be sure to listen to all sides of an argument before making any judgments in your mind.

One method of being sure that you have heard and understood correctly is to restate what you have just been told. For example: “So what you are saying is…”

7.   Always Being Prepared To Cut People Loose

Individuals that are not meeting expectations, for whatever reason, can have an adverse effect on others around them and the business in general. This can make it a bigger issue than just that one individual. The best leaders will try to work with troublesome or low-performing individuals and provide encouragement, training, and incentives where appropriate. If you have tried your best and they are still unwilling and/or unable to meet expectations then you should be prepared to let them go. Knowing when it’s time to do this is another sign of an outstanding HR leader.

8.   Allowing Others to Take the Spotlight

HR is typically a department that operates behind the scenes. Despite HR managers and their teams working tirelessly to help keep the company moving in the right direction, it’s usually other individuals and departments that end up receiving the accolades. This can sometimes be frustrating but a good HR manager will understand that results are what matter, not applause.

9.   Getting Hands On

When leading people, among the most effective ways of showing them what needs to be done is to get hands on and get involved yourself. This is a great way of demonstrating that the job can be done and just how it should be done. It will also help the HR department to identify if there are any issues with the process that need to be addressed.

10.  Creating a Great HR Team

A large part of being a great HR manager involves recruiting the right people for the company, so it’s only right that they should be expected to recruit a great team for themselves. Having a great team working for you not only helps to ensure that the day to day tasks are completed effectively, it also helps to bring new ideas and different skills that can help the team to break the mold and innovate.

The HR department is one of the most important because it helps to ensure that the most valuable assets in business are being managed and led. The right HR leadership will help keep any business competitive and going strong.



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