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Top 10 Traits Every HR Leader Should Develop

9 min read

Being A Successful HR Leader Is No Joke. It Requires Years Of Dedication To Human Service, Unlimited Passion Towards Making A Change And Relentless Effort For Growth.

HR leaders are extremely vital to ensure development of employees and organizations. Remarkable HR professionals can be found at various levels, whether they are an entry level recruiter with a passion and zeal to recruit top talent, a training manager who has a drive to enhance employee skill sets or a Chief HR Officer, who strategizes and manages human relations across a large organization.

If you are also looking to become an exceptional HR leader, here are the top 10 characteristics that you can aim at developing this new year:

1. Self-Awareness

Self awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. It is a skill that 90% of top performing leaders possess in abundance. Great HR leaders are highly aware of their traits, their leadership style and also the impact of it on others and the organization. They also have a clear and accurate image of their strengths and weaknesses. Constant self retrospection and self enlightenment enables them to harness their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. Great leaders do not favor themselves over anyone else, but treat issues with the utmost neutrality and non-biasedness.

2. Passion

Be it any level level of the organization, if HR professionals do not have a genuine interest or a relentless passion for the field, the entire cause gets dissipated. Great HR leaders are passionate about what they do, about the people and organizational values they work towards developing. For great HR leaders, their job does not just end at finding the right talent. The job actually starts from there. Passion for growing and developing employees at various stages, giving them what they want, having a sense of understanding of human behavior are all skills HR leaders acquire as a result of their passion towards their field.

3. Empathy

Empathy and compassion lies at the core of human resource management. Empathy is a must have characteristic for forming successful human relationships and bonds. For every problem that arises within the organization, HR professionals need to be patient to understand it in its entirety. Empathy helps HR leaders listen intently to what employees have to say, before jumping to conclusions or providing solutions. Successful HR professionals try to understand people by putting themselves in other’s shoes from a neutral perspective.

4. Humility

“I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility.”

~ John Ruskin

Fast rising HR professionals are great human beings who believe in forming deep connections with those around them. They are extremely humble of their own achievements and profile, which is why they manage to garner a lot of respect in the business. Successful HR leaders keep their ego’s at bay and never let personal opinions, judgment or experiences cloud their thoughts. They always have time for others and they offer an open and safe space for others to enter and share their issues.

5. Inspirational

Great HR leaders set superior examples of character and standards for the rest to follow. They truly inspire others through their strength, confidence, goodwill and hard work. They understand the importance of a positive workplace culture which is why they are always away from participating in office politics or gossip. At the same time, they do not ignore unwanted behavior or unprofessionalism which is why they are also capable of undertaking strict actions. They constantly inspire those around them to achieve higher standards. Great leaders share their knowledge with their teams and give them all the opportunities to become achievers.

6. Accountability

One of the biggest characteristics of great leaders is that they do not pass around blame when things go wrong. They take full responsibility for any kind of failure, individual and team. Highly successful HR leaders take full responsibility for their own actions and do not blame externalities for consequences. They accept circumstances with full dignity and respect, and do their best to turn it around with their positivity and perseverance. The best leaders don’t make excuses which makes them trustworthy and full of integrity.

7. Lifelong Learners

Great HR leaders never stop learning and networking to keep their skill sets polished and updated. They work hard to keep themselves abreast of the latest developments in the HR field. They do this not to compete but because they are passionate to find about what is latest and explore ways to align their business goals accordingly. They are always ahead of the game, be it latest HR trends, products or technology. They keep a variety of tools handy that can help them educate themselves and keep learning. They are always trying to find ways to improve their own effectiveness.

8. Clear Communicator

Great leaders are the best communicators. Be it through their words or their body language, successful HR leaders always ensure that they communicate clearly and are absolutely transparent in their interactions. They make sure people are well aware of their expectations which is why they are always fair in expression and conduct. Successful HR leaders are always in constant communication with their colleagues and peers, and always ready for a conversation to clear things if necessary. They know how to balance the art of communication and they make sure they share their thoughts and ideas regularly, not only to inspire others but also to keep things crystal clear and confusion free.

9. Sense Of Humor

The most successful HR leaders radiate positivity and know how to have a good laugh. Leaders are always being looked at for their reactions, especially in dire situations. They need to be able to laugh things off, because they can never let staff morale go down. Great meltdowns can be dealt with if leaders keep calm and encourage a culture of humor and personal discussions in the workplace. A classy and witty sense of humor not only makes leaders popular, but also makes them grounded, realistic and honest which helps them counteract some tense moments at the workplace.

10. Positivity

HR professionals are being presented with challenges every single day. And these are challenges related to people, their behavior and expectations, an equation very difficult to crack. Great HR leaders know that they cannot expect to have a happy and motivated workforce unless they exhibit a positive attitude themselves. They do this by remaining positive and upbeat when things go wrong. Great HR leaders are known to find solutions by staying positive throughout and creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace. The best HR leaders will stay positive even in the worst situations, and emerge with the best solutions. Such positivity helps them embrace failures and take them in strides.

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    Meet the author

    Keka Editorial Team

    A bunch of inspired, creative and ambitious youngsters- that’s Keka’s editorial team for you. We have a thirst to learn new subjects and curate diverse pieces for our readers. Our deep understanding and knowledge of Human Resources has enabled us to answer almost every question pertaining to this department. If not seen finding ways to simplify the HR world, they can be found striking conversations with anyone and everyone , petting dogs, obsessing over gadgets, or baking cakes.


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