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hr leadership

Having impeccable leadership skills as an HR professional is crucial to becoming excellent in your craft and providing top-notch services to your business. Oftentimes, HR professionals can get caught up in the mundane tasks associated with the role. From payroll and benefits to HRIS implementation, administrative tasks can feel robotic after working in the field for a long period of time. Instead of getting pushed down by these tasks that can easily be automated with the help of workflow integrations, allow yourself and your team time to embrace the natural HR leadership ability that comes with serving in this position.

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The Difference Between Leadership and Management

You might have heard the difference between management and leadership, but have you really seen these competencies in action? Famously studied in the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People”, management is the act of telling subordinates what to do, while leadership is the act of inspiring and motivating teammates to be their best. In HR leadership, it is your job in a leadership role to inspire and motivate employees to advocate for themselves, take on ownership over problems they are facing, have ownership of their goals, and trust their instincts in order to achieve the best success.

Why You Want to Become a Leader

 While being a manager and simply directing teammates on what to do to get the job done might sound like the easiest and most efficient way to run a business, this is not the most effective strategy. Although there are many different leadership styles, by becoming an effective leader, you are able to inspire your team to make their own decisions without your guidance, but with your support. As a result, you will have empowered individuals who you can trust to make the very best decisions on behalf of the company moving forward. This is a transformational experience for employee development!

5 HR Leadership Skills Your Team Should Be Practicing

Now, let’s dive into how you can make these leadership goals spring into action! Here are 5 HR leadership skills your team can start practicing today, to create a culture of independence and accountability. The following professional skills can be incorporated into every human resource management practice. From onboarding to people analytics and reporting, these key attributes will be able to be placed at the forefront of everything you do. When it comes to organizational development, practicing these skills will help your leadership style blossom.

Communication Skills

HR leaders are in the business of people. So, having excellent communication skills is a must. Communication means more than just verbally relaying information or feedback to certain teams or individuals. Instead, communication encompasses listening, written skills, body language, and more. Not everyone is a natural-born communicator, this is a learned skill for many! Effective communication takes time, perseverance, self-awareness, as well as trial and error. As a leader, it is important to utilize resources, alongside your knowledge and skills, to your advantage. If you are able to automate written messages into workflows to better communicate your points, use technology to your advantage! If you’d like to have more face-to-face interaction when working on this skill, make workflows for administrative back-end work so that you can spend more time being present with your people.

Opposition Management

You won’t get along with everyone at work all the time, and that’s okay! Your colleagues and those you coach on a team won’t always synergize, either. Having the ability to understand objective handling and opposition management is an HR leadership skill every professional should master. When having conversations around compensation, title changes, promotion, benefits coverage, and other high-impact work relations, you must be prepared to handle opposing sides of the argument. Making sure that your decisions during the negotiation are backed by data and compensation management is a must. Review your leveling structure to justify your stance in terms of compensation, salary, title adjustment, and overall rank. Being objective in your work as an HR leader isn’t always easy, but it is extremely important! An important part of leadership training and your own personal development is fully understanding HR management as a craft.


Confidentiality is the next HR leadership skill all professionals should master when serving in their position. As an HR manager, you will be exposed to a lot of confidential high-security information. This includes personal employee information, financial statements, employee relations concerns, and general business knowledge that should be kept private. You will have access to a lot of secure company information, thus teammates may approach you at times with probing questions. Always maintaining professionalism in every circumstance will help you uphold your reputation and be seen as a trustworthy source on the team. Ensuring that your systems are secure is essential, too! Work with your IT team to conduct regular system health checks to ensure no data has been breached and that you are operating with up-to-date software. If you reveal any sensitive information, this could cost you your role at the company, as topics like the ones listed above can have serious impacts on employee well-being as well as the overall health of the business.

Change Management

If you work in human resources, there are always going to be a lot of moving parts! You should expect change and embrace it. Change is a sign that your employees and organization as a whole are growing and evolving. If things stay stagnant for too long, you may experience unmotivated employees and low team morale. Typical, this is associated with low growth numbers and revenue, increasing attrition and turnover rates within the organization. As an HR employee, these are all issues that reflect on your HR leadership skills. In order to avoid this, knowing how to navigate change management is crucial. The ways in which you handle situations such as employees leaving, new management coming in, organizational changes, or external factors impacting the company, all serve as examples for your employees about how they should act in similar situations. No matter what your rank is at a company or what your leadership position is, handling change with grace and embracing discomfort will positive example to your employees, encouraging them to mirror your behavior.

Leading With Company Values

Incorporating your company values into everything that you do, especially when practicing HR leadership, is always the best practice and will improve your organizational culture. When you lead with your company values as you tackle tough problems and make decisions, related to HR or not, you know that the choices you make will be in alignment with your business strategy and what is best for the organization. Not every person at your company can be involved with each individual decision or project. So, by leading with your core values, you know that every choice is mindfully made with the north star of the team as a whole in mind. Especially when rolling out feedback and surveys through your HR dashboard, incorporating your values into questions and prompts will help you collect the most valuable data points for real change.


We hope this article helps you better understand how to incorporate HR leadership into your everyday business practices. As a result of making these changes, you will notice a positive organizational change, with employee performance improving and the business environment becoming better. From attitude around certain tools to navigating tough conversations, allow these tips to be your guiding light. Human resources managers are the backbone of any organization, so your efforts will not go unnoticed!

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