June 23, 2015
Leaders are often thought of as beloved figures who manage companies, countries and the world. Leaders, at their best, think with clarity, speak with honesty and act with poise. We respect them, admire them, and some of us want to become them.
We have encouraged you to think about and define leadership for your workplace. Now it’s time to think about becoming a leader. The significant demand for leadership and strategic thinking in the workplace is a great opportunity for HR talent managers to step up and become leaders themselves.
Here is a list of five things you can do to develop the five traits of a leader and be an example of leadership within your workplace:
Learn and practice new things to gain confidence
As a talent leader, it is your goal to display confidence and command in the workplace. However, few people are born with natural confidence and communication skills. Hone these skills by educating yourself about them. Read blogs and books that discuss leadership topics. Discuss what you read with your coworkers to make it clear that you are trying to improve your leadership skills.
Most important of all, practice public speaking and interpersonal communication in the workplace whenever possible. As you practice being confident and commanding, your teammates and employees will naturally seek you out for support and guidance.
Set aside time to think strategically
Do you think Lazlo Block would be the successful VP of People Operations at Google if he made hiring and firing decisions on a whim? Definitely not. In fact, it’s Block’s strategic planning that allows him to balance Google’s desire to remain an intimate company as the organization grows and keeps his peers looking to him for leadership decisions. By definition, strategic decisions and strategic thinking don’t happen by accident. You must take the time to consider the big picture and how your actions and behaviors align.
The next time you are presented with an opportunity to make a decision, start a new habit; pause before you react and consider all possible long-term implications of decisions both for the health of the company and the health of your team. As you embrace this new habit, you may find that you have more power to lead the company towards a new goal one small decision at a time.
Name your goals
Speaking of goals, you cannot achieve any unless you identify them. Since leaders set and achieve goals to track overall progress, it is vital that you take the time to consider your company’s overall goals and how these goals are impacted by your talent acquisition and retention decisions.
Common goals across talent acquisition teams in all industries include cost per application/hire, time to fill, turnover rate, and applications per hire. You can also integrate these goals with your internal and external employer brand metrics. Once you have set goals that align with your company, you can consider every decision in light of how it will bring the company closer to those goals.
Orient your actions with your beliefs
We’ve all encountered a situation in the workplace in which we weren’t sure how to react or what to do in response to the inappropriate behavior of others. Leaders feel the same feelings, but they know what to do. They act with assertiveness and confidence, and they calmly and fearlessly enforce the decisions they make because they know that the decisions are correct. The logical question to ask is, “How do they know what the right thing to do is?”
Confidence and assertiveness come with moral character. When your actions are completely oriented with your beliefs (and with the beliefs within your company) you will not doubt them. When your actions are completely oriented with the beliefs of your co-workers, they will not doubt them, either. If you want to feel confident and sure about the decisions you make in your workplace, you must identify your moral compass and align your actions with those beliefs.
Figure out what motivates you
A Harvard Medical Study found that as many as 96 percent of senior leaders felt somewhat burned out, and a third of those leaders described their burnout as extreme. HR talent leaders are not immune to these stresses and pressures, and the only way to avoid a negative result is to stay close to the source of what motivates you.
For the same reason that leaders must establish a moral compass, they must also understand their deepest motivations. When you know what drives you, it becomes easier to set your priorities, give hope to others and stay the course. It is this deep internal motivation that will allow you to do the best job you possibly can in all circumstances.
HR talent managers well on their way to defining and becoming leaders in the workplace would do well to zero in on the behaviors of leadership above and identify the attributes they can improve. By improving your grasp of confidence, strategic thinking, goal-making and assertiveness, you will be better suited to display leadership for the benefit of your employees’ productivity and performance.
You can read the first articles here: