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Characteristics of Strong Leaders in Human Resource Management 

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    Creating effective leadership is very important to the success of an organization. Research proves that leaders have a vital role in an organization’s performance, with 83% of organizations saying it is important to develop leaders at all levels. The focus on the importance of leadership provides an opportunity for HR personnel to make a difference in their organizations. When human resource management nurtures good leadership, it is securing the future of a functioning, successful workforce. Building the workforce begins with HRM. When the HR management in a company functions effectively, it causes a trickle-down effect within other levels of staff within the organization. Being staff managers of an organization, offering advisory based on the characteristics they lead them to success is key.

    Characteristics of Strong Leaders in Human Resource Management

    In order for a human resources manager to effectively provide the correct human resources to that a business for them to succeed, they must have a clear-cut understanding of what qualities a successful HR manager must have. Dressler defines human resource management as, “the process of acquiring, training, appraising, and compensating employees, and of attending to their labor relations, health and safety, and fairness concerns” (Dressler, 2017). Successful managers are the individuals who are able to complete a wide variety of roles and who can effectively encourage their staff to be and do their best. Almost all companies have some type of human resources department, and as the businesses become more focused on developing human capital, HR professionals must have the tools and characteristics to pave the way. Human resource management is comprised of organized individuals who are interested in helping a business reach their goals and employees reach their potential. HR professionals job responsibilities will be to identify candidates for employment that have the characteristics that will make them successful in the role for which you are hiring. While HR professionals search for certain characteristics in candidates looking to join a firm, it is important for them to have the characteristics that will make them successful at their job. An effective HR leader has the characteristics of being knowledgeable and experienced, ethical, a great communicator, ability to manage conflict, and organized multitaskers.

    Knowledge and Experience in HR

    Successful HR leaders have a foundation regarding the functions of human resources. In addition, an HR leader must be willing to stay up to date with the latest trends and best practices. It is with this knowledge and experience that these leaders are able to face the challenges that arise in an organization. The ability to make informed recruitment and hiring decisions, as well as having a context for company guidelines and policies is where the HR leader’s knowledge is key. It is easy to overlook the fact that HR professionals are business professionals as well. A strong HR leader’s knowledge of the expanding field of human resources help them better manage, support, and lead an organization. When a HR leader puts this knowledge into practice, it can encourage growth and development of not only HR staff, but also the larger workforce.

    In conjunction with life-long learning through an advanced degree, a professional certification is necessary to build and refine HR knowledge. Dressler states, “the oldest is administered by the HR Certification Institute…HRCI awards several credentials such as Professional in Human Resource (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resource (SPHR)” (Dressler, 2017). SHRM also has it owns credential which is based upon the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge. Successful HR leaders are abreast of the benefits of research outcomes and try to approve upon these outcomes for best results. By leaders incorporating knowledge of best HR practices, they are able to support your organization’s strategic goals and direction.

    Ethical in Decision Making

    In a similar fashion, HR managers often serve as the conscious of an organization. When it comes to following company policies and maintaining confidential information, you must have a strong sense of ethics. “Ethics means the standards someone uses to decide what his or her conduct should be” (Dressler, 2017). A HR leader must earn the trust of both employees and managers and this can be done by always using discretion and honesty. An HR leader has a keen sense of ethics when it comes to confidential information and following company policies. Some of the ethical issues that HR face are employment issues, privacy, performance appraisal, and employee discrimination. Because HR professionals often lead the process for fair and equitable treatment of all organizational members, HR leaders must be able to help build a community of employees who will want to internalize and demonstrate your organization’s values and ethical behaviors. In order to do so, HR leaders follow SHRM Code of Ethics. A core principle of a HR professional’s responsibility is; “As HR professionals, we are responsible for adding value to the organizations we serve and contributing to the ethical success of those organizations. We accept professional responsibility for our individual decisions and actions. We are also advocates for the profession by engaging in activities that enhance its credibility and value” (Code of Ethics, 2014). A company’s most valuable resource is its people. The people staffed for a company have a reasonable expectation is that they will be treated fairly and with respect. Ethics in HR leaders guarantees that a company meets that expectation. When a HR professional participates in unethical business practices, it can cause the company loss of revenue in form of lawsuits and expenses. Ethical HR practices are fundamental a company’s compliance with federal, state and local employment laws and regulations. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on factors such as age, race, ethnicity, sex and disability; it is within the HR department’s purview to ensure that your company follows the rules. Unethical business practices by the HR team can create serious legal problems for your business, and ultimately cause you to lose employees and customers. The is why HR leaders being ethical is so important. HR leaders provides information about a company’s mission and values. Without HR guidance on ethics, a company’s reputation could be damaged or even broken.

    Great Communicator

    A key skill that a HR leader must have is the ability to communicate with both employers and employees. Written and oral communication skills must be clear, concise, and effective to individuals on all levels of the organization. Effective communication will sometimes include negotiation. A primary function of all HR professionals is facilitating communication between employers and employees. HR leaders must communicate with the organization’s workforce, but they also are obligated to strengthen the communication between HR staff. Employees often times don’t understand the functionality or the purpose that an HR department serves. When an HR leader communicates effectively with staff, they can establish HR’s credibility throughout the organization. During the hiring process, or when conflicts arise between employees, successful HR pros are able to help opposing groups compromise and find middle ground. Clear, effective communication can boost morale, engagement, and retention. Organizations that are highly effective in their communication practices are more than twice as likely to significantly outperform peers. HR leaders are able to scope out opportunities to develop and demonstrate your communication skills. For example, strong writing skills lead to clearly understood policies and procedures that drive organization’s strategic plan. Similarly, with outstanding verbal communication skills you can help your workforce to understand better their roles in driving organizational results and motivate them toward peak performance. Effective leadership benefits from effective communication on the HR manager’s part in interdepartmental concerns. HR managers who are capable of empowering supervisors and managers in areas such as being first responders for employee relations matters, relieve HR staff of handling many of the routine issues that arise within departments. HR develops and delivers leadership training, too. This provides supervisors and managers with the tools to be successful, whether it’s conducting annual performance appraisals, learning to coach employees for high performance or assessing the strengths of emerging leaders for the organization’s succession plan. Some of the key takeaways when it come to a HR leader being successful with communication are sharing values and missions, being able to talk and listen, and ensuring mutual respect is always present. SHRM adds evidence of this stating, “The human resource team has a leadership responsibility to develop and implement workplace conflict policies and procedures and to create and manage conflict-resolution programs. HR also initiates employee communication on conflict and tracks the metrics and costs of conflict-resolution efforts. Many HR professionals receive conflict-resolution training, often as part of their professional development, and many are accustomed to conducting such training or enlisting outside training resources for supervisors and managers” (Society for Human Resource Management, 2018). When it occurs, conflict must be resolved equitably and quickly. It is also important, though, to try to prevent it—that is, to create an environment in which corrosive conflict is less likely to occur in the first place. The foundation of such a culture is employee relations, the process of building strong relationships between managers and employees based on fairness, trust and mutual respect. It takes time, effort and money to create such a work environment, but a good employee relations climate supports motivation, loyalty and high performance among employees, and it encourages them to try to achieve the best results possible for their organization.

    Strong Conflict Management Skills

    Dealing with conflict is never pleasant. Conflicts within the workplace will generally either work themselves out or get to be blown out of proportion. In an article on conflict management Bagshaw states, “A key leadership task is to create a climate where conflict is managed not avoided. Mediation and/or training in how to transform destructive conflict into constructive conflict is likely to be the development challenge at the start of the new millennium” (Bagshaw, 1998). In order for an organization to function at their best, HR leaders must ensure that individuals with different personalities can work together civilly and accomplish company goals. Also, in order to accomplish the other tasks required, HR leaders must be skilled at conflict management and diffusing tense or combative situations. A HR leader must employ critical thinking skills to appropriately manage the conflict. They are able to gather all pertinent information, pinpoint the issue, devise solutions, and negotiate a compromise. Although conflicts are natural, you must have the right skills and abilities to ensure that your office runs smoothly.

    Great Sense of Organization and Multitasking

    Multitasking is the act of doing many different things at the same time. The human brain is capable of working on various activities at a single moment in time. The number of activities a particular individual can handle, however, differs from person to person. Some people, who have more multitasking skills, are comfortable in doing many things at one time, while some people prefer to do less at a single point in time.One of the most important characteristics of HR professionals is the ability to get organized. This includes strong time management skills and the ability to complete tasks efficiently. A HR leader day involves balancing a variety of different tasks, ranging from hiring and firing, dealing with employees’ personal issues and creating recruitment strategies for open positions. Multitasking is key, as well as self-discipline. HR leaders set ethical and behavioral standards for others to follow, and make sure you are following them as well. HR professionals also manage deadlines and accomplish tasks quickly so that both employee and employer needs are met. On an average workday, an HR manager must deal with one employee’s personal complaint one minute, attend a meeting, and then develop an effective recruiting strategy for a difficult to fill position after. Basically, in human resources, if it is not one problem, then it is another. Every employee has issues that are important to them. A HR leader knows the needs and priorities of an organization are constantly shifting and evolving.


    These five areas intertwine and support one another. If HR professionals can do all five things, they will allow leadership to be considered in a coherent way across the organization. This approach benefits not only leaders but also employees, the organization and HR itself.

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