Let’s face it, HR leadership can be challenging. With HR serving as the glue between what senior management wants to get done and the needs and development of the workforce, HR professionals face daily challenges. These challenges can be met with specific strategies and principles. The HR leader today should start with these top 10 approaches first!

1. Putting people first.

This is a challenge for many organizations as competition grows and the pursuit of profit becomes more valued than the people working hard to make it possible.

Solution: If people are put first, they will respond in positive ways and everyone wins. When people feel like they are valued, appreciated and included they thrive. HR should ensure that organizational values and action support the development of the workforce if business goals are expected to be achieved.

2. Fostering collaboration.

Creating internal competition between people can lead to poor morale, low productivity, and poor teamwork. This, however, is an assumed strategy for many leaders to increase productivity.

Solution: Emphasize a culture of teamwork and collaboration vs. individual merit and competition. Otherwise the organization will end up with a few winners and many more losers.

3.  Enabling people to find joy in their work.

Although silly rewards and contests are assumed to be a good motivation strategy, they only provide short-term contentedness.

Solution: People find joy at work when abilities and interests are matched and work is challenging yet also matched with high skills.

4. Communicating often and openly.

This can be a challenge for some leaders who are reluctant to share all organizational information.

Solution: Keep all followers fully informed on all aspects of the business if you want them to feel like partners versus just employees.

5. Enabling development.

Areas like training and staff development are usually the first to be cut when the business is doing poorly.

Solution: HR leaders should have the best interests and development of all employees as a top priority. They should be prepared to voice and advocate for such programs and attest to their value.

6.  Providing feedback.

Many HR leaders focus on a rigid negative-based form of evaluation, which can cause people to become defensive.

Solution: Focus on creating a system of positive and frequent feedback, which is informal combined with a formal goal-setting process and review.

7.  Creating a strong culture.

If leaders do not role model of what they expect from employees, it can cause conflict and confusion.

Solution: HR should create a strong culture with clear vision, mission, values, and expected behaviors for the organization.

8.  HR Leaders should develop follower skills as it is important to be able both lead and also follow.

This enables HR leaders to develop their interpersonal skills as they take on different roles in the organization.

Solution: HR leaders should participate on project teams and other team oriented task forces and related activities to acquire follower skills.

9. Displaying self-awareness.

If the leader is not self-aware, then having empathy and care for others is more difficult to achieve.

Solution: When we are comfortable with ourselves we are available to listen and support others. To become more self-aware one must be clear as to where they most want to make a contribution (purpose), what is most important (values) and how their daily behaviors and goals align to these highest principles.

10.  Teaching others.

The HR leader’s actions are watched carefully by followers. The HR leader must develop great teaching skills which include speaking, listening, coaching and guiding people to reach their goals.

Solution: HR Leaders should guide and enable success. As teacher the HR leader should set examples, provide support, experience and tools to enable success. A good teacher is also a guide, mentor, listener, coach and active participant in their students success. The same holds true for an HR leader as teacher.

Do you want to succeed as an HR leader?

Start these 10 steps now and you will see incremental progress and success!

Craig Nathanson


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