The Qualities of a Great HR Leader
The Qualities of a Great HR Leader
Many business owners will say that employees are their greatest assets. However, managing employees and team engagement may be the biggest challenge a leader can face. Strong and successful human resource leadership requires a mix of management qualities and soft skills. In this article, we will explore several factors that make great leaders.
What Makes a Good HR Leader?
Human resource leaders or human resources professionals are responsible for finding, recruiting and developing talent for a company. Effective leadership in HR invests in company culture and strives to ensure employee development and satisfaction.
However, to be a human resources leader, it is not enough to simply be good at your job. There are certain HR qualities and skills that differentiate successful HR leaders or human resources managers from good human resources professionals.
Practicing Honesty and Integrity
Many HR leaders have to make quick decisions in moments of crisis or significant change. While some may decide to keep information from the rest of the company, the best HR leaders know that honesty and transparency are key to the morale and success of a team.
One of the most important HR practices is learning to be open to employees. This can be done by establishing regular check-ins or communication.
An honest human resource professional opens space for teams to discuss new changes or potential problems. At the same time, the best HR professional also knows how to give employees a reliable communication channel.
An effective HR leader has certain skill sets, job knowledge and expertise that allow them to foster an environment where each worker is engaged and highly motivated. In addition, a "people person" personality can help an HR professional create a more loyal and high-performing team.
Learning and Deepening HR Knowledge
Great HR leaders who constantly work to deepen and expand their knowledge of the ever-changing field of human resources are better at managing, supporting, and leading their team. This is because understanding human resources management techniques can give unlimited access to tools and strategies needed to help managers become better problem solvers. Additionally, refining HR knowledge can also give leaders new ideas on how to better develop talents and complete their daily tasks and other functions.
Fostering a Culture of Development
The first characteristic that separates the best leaders from other HR professionals is a genuine concern for developing others . This further expands to providing coaching, acting as a mentor, and giving feedback in a helpful way and applies at all levels of the organization. Deloitte showed that 42% of respondents who have been seeking new employment believe their job does not make good use of their skills and abilities.
Furthermore, 26% of those who planned to leave their jobs in the next year cited a lack of trust in HR leadership as a key factor, whilst 62% of employees who plan to stay with their current employers reported high levels of trust in their corporate culture and HR leadership. 
These statistics emphasize that if organizations do not have an effective HR department, they subsequently fail to see employees' underlying potential through deploying sufficient employee engagement strategies, which could cause them to lose out on attracting and retaining talent.
The problems associated with not prioritizing workforce development are further compounded given employee retention is becoming ever more challenging with the advent of technology enabling remote working to become more widespread - check out our blog on The Future of Work for our take on how this develops.
Influencing and Building Relationships
The role of an HR leader has changed dramatically in recent years. No longer can an HR leader focus their efforts narrowly on building their own function and monitoring attrition rates. On the surface, this concentration makes sense. However, HR professionals must demonstrate more than just basic HR competency. They are expected to be key partners who help drive their organization's overall business strategies. To do so, HR professionals need to think strategically, connecting a robust HR function with an in-depth knowledge of their organization's core business issues and aspirations. 
HR leaders should connect and communicate with the senior management of organizations to educate and share the understanding that employees are pivotal in impacting business results. This requires HR leaders to possess strong communication skills and strong conflict management skills at all levels within the organization.
The best leader communicates powerfully and broadly. Apart from that, a great communicator also needs to have the ability to accurately and empathetically deliver the support and guidance needed. Still, their employees resolve problems and increase productivity.
Consequently, they should harness their functional and technical skills to develop diversity and inclusion initiatives and labor relations to attract, maintain and develop the best personnel to fulfil the business objectives.
The Power of Empathy in People Management
Empathy can be defined as "vicarious introspection". While strategic thinking, change management and the ability to execute are often highly regarded in the business world, empathy is one of the most underrated leadership skills. Yet, the capacity to be able to relate to others can inspire and empower a team to greater heights. There is nothing "soft" about trying to see things from an employee's perspective. In fact, by putting oneself in the employee's shoes, a leader is likely to motivate their team to deliver better results.
Application and Development of Functional Knowledge
The final element of a great HR leader that merits identification is functional knowledge and application. This is contextual knowledge that is relevant to an HR leader in their particular organization, industry and role. I.e. specific employment law, changes in regulation etc., to name some. HR leaders provide support and expertise for organizations where employees are unaware of labor laws, hiring rules, benefits and compensation issues.
Having said that, this is but one element, and the differentiator between a great HR leader and fellow HR professionals is the attitude towards functional knowledge development and applying expertise in an analytical and strategic way in order to impact the organizational objectives positively. A great HR leader will continually be learning and remaining up to date with continuing professional development and industry best practices to implement in their organizations. 
If you would like to learn more about how Qualee can help with employee onboarding and keeping your teams engaged, visit our website www.qualee.com and download Qualee for free today!