The challenges of today’s evolving workplace demand increasing needs for change in the focus of Human Resources leaders and a shift in the organizational perception of HR. In this sense, HR professionals of the future must be aware of and able to address the organization’s business needs with strategic and innovative solutions.
Forbes columnist Kevin Kruse suggested that leadership is a process of social influence defined as maximizing the efforts of others towards the achievement of goals. This definition articulates the idea that leadership is not necessarily a function of formal authority and that ultimately, its focus is on action and accomplishment. A leader defines and articulates a vision of an outcome and in the process of sharing that vision, he persuades others to contribute to the end result. HR professionals should position themselves as a person who understands the pressures and challenges faced by a leader and is available to help create the best solutions possible.
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Further, HR Leader should be viewed as an enabler that provides strategies and tools — not an inhibitor that quotes workplace rules. HR professionals who offer thoughtful, sound, and creative solutions to problems are viewed as partners rather than administrative roadblocks. If HR professionals combine the knowledge of business with the understanding of the workforce that drives the business, new approaches and solutions can be presented. If innovative solutions are offered, HR professionals become a needed and valued partner that is positioned to serve as a trusted advisor who provides strategic advice and counsel on the front end of decision-making rather than operating from a reactive state of existence. The strategic leadership provided by HR professionals is necessary to help guide and influence an organization to have optimal performance.
Here are 7 considerations for action and areas of emphasis in HR leadership:
- Interview leaders of other departments and spend some time with front line employees to better understand how to best link capability and actions to results.
- Concentrate on how to delegate more administrative functions to staff and focus on how to understand the organization more holistically to include financial, strategic goals, and department priorities.
- Seek mentoring and feedback opportunities. Making the transition from transactional to transformational can be difficult. Find someone within or outside your organization who will mentor you through this process. If that is not possible, study strategic leaders. Learn to ask for feedback and graciously receive it.
- Develop your HR staff to understand the difference between transactional and transformational HR services and help guide them to apply that knowledge in their functional areas.
- Promote HR function and your value; consider yourself the Chief Marketing Officer of HR. Educate your organization on the full value of HR in accomplishing its mission. Ask other functional leaders about their challenges and provide solutions. Demonstrate your commitment to being a strategic partner.
- Remember that the perception of HR function from within the HR department might vary from the perception held by other departments. Solicit input from many different perspectives from within organizations on HR leadership and use this feedback in determining the best approach to implementing strategies and action items.
- Survey internal clients to determine what is working well and what could be working better in terms of providing HR services. You can use the survey itself to articulate a vision of strategic HR programs and services and find out from your client’s perspective where the gaps exist. This will allow you to target areas for innovation and offer leadership a menu of potential opportunities.
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