The defining HR Leadership Qualities

Want to define HR leadership qualities? then think about this real scenario:
The CEO has called you in for a meeting and asks you 2 questions.
What has Learning and Development done in quantifiable terms to positively impact on the business in the last year?.
How have our people strategies supported our competitive advantage and improved the experience of our customers?.


This is where the rubber hits the road and we define what we mean by HR leadership qualities and aligning strategic people practices with Business Strategy and Performance? If you are very lucky you will work for a CEO that asks those types of questions and has high expectations of a strategic and performance input from learning and development and HR. If you haven’t asked those types of questions my advice is start preparing now because people capability issues are moving been up the priority lists of CEO’s everywhere.

Hr and Learning and Development leaders need to capture the attention and engagement of business leaders

To do this people professionals must demonstrate consistently that they can be strategic focused on the bottom line and value adding explicitly adding to organisational success. They also need to challenge and remove any misconceptions or outdated views that the business may have around the role of HR and training.

To quote David Ulrich

“Human resources must start doing the real work of companies improving customer service and increasing shareholder value . Many companies stereotype HR managers as incompetent, value-sapping support staff.. it’s time to destroy the stereotype and unleash HR’s potential and be focused on results”
(David Ulrich Delivering Results 1999.)


"Ouch" but we get your point David

Simply todays environment means HR and L&D leadership qualities mean that practitioners have to get out of the HR and L&D silo in order to improve their influence.

There are no easy solutions or “magic bullets” to improving your influence as a HR/LD Manager but the following 7 steps reflect a sensible approach

1. Gaining the ear of the CEO redefining the role

  • Understanding the business ask the right questions
  • What are our key business challenges?
  • How do we compare with our competitors?
  • What are our Strengths and weaknesses?
  • Educate and agree on the role of Hr
  • What is the role of HR around here
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of Hr
  • Delivering on the basics Meet regularly

    2. Understanding strategies
    Map the strategies use a value chain approach as a tool

  • What is the strategy?
  • What is the people component of the strategy?
  • What is the outcome of that people practice/ process component
  • What is the business impact of that outcome
  • What is the added value

    3. Assess alignment of HR processes and organizational structure

  • Review the current provision of Hr services and processes against the new strategy
  • Ask your internal customers for their view Identify the gaps

    4. Identify Priorities and links
    Develop a criteria to assist your prioritization

  • Importance to CEO
  • Potential business impact
  • Reason not fixed previously
  • Chances of success
  • Importance to positioning of Hr

    5. Develop the plan

  • Create action lists
  • Develop evaluation and quality , service and efficiency measures
  • Develop the plan

    6. Vision the future and gain commitment
    Communicate and sell the plan to the organization

    7. Implement Measure Evaluate Act
    Measure, evaluate and influence through reporting

    More on top 10 leadership qualities here

    If you are interested in HR leadership you can find a useful resource right here Hr leadership Council

    Developing Human capital must become more of a science than an art, of course decisions are made on gut extinct by Senior executives but fundamentally organizations are managed by quantitative data.

    If HR is to have an important strategic role then as a profession we must improve our ability to demonstrate results and performance and to supply meaningful people information to the CEO’s for decision making.
    “Without data we only have opinions” Jac Fitz Enz


    For HR and learning and development to fulfill its strategic role then Hr leadership qualities must come to the fore. A failure to do this means HR and learning and development will default to its historical transactional role of managing activity and processes and non HR and LD professionals will take the lead

    Back to leadership development plan

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