HR is one of the driving forces of today's most successful businesses. Companies with strong HR departments excel at keeping employees happy, building competitive business models, and establishing themselves as in-demand employers. So what separates great HR leaders from bad ones? Great HR leaders share these five characteristics:


1. Powerful Coaching Skills

To be effective, an HR leader needs to be committed to developing and coaching employees across all departments and specialties. When an HR leader can act as a mentor and as a support system, the entire company benefits from increased morale and clearer expectations.


2. A Focus on Inclusive Relationships

Businesses that break up into stringently defined "sections" with little or no communication in between are doomed. Because of this, HR leaders who focus on developing inclusive relationships help companies succeed. Effective ways to do this include hosting team-building exercises and focusing on developing relationships between departments (via loose seating charts, for example, or virtual collaborative platforms that encourage departments to work together on a project). In addition to unifying an operation, these steps also create more innovative environments.


3. Widespread Knowledge

To be an advantage to a company, an HR leader needs to be well-versed in both general and industry-specific knowledge regarding labor laws and compensation standards. Having a broad knowledge base allows the HR leader to create a fairer workplace and ensure the rights of all the company's employees are respected.


4. Ability to Lead by Example

Great HR leaders show their employees what's expected of them by modeling it firsthand. For example, HR leaders who wanted to implement a new protocol could help employees learn the ropes by modeling the protocol themselves. In addition to inspiring respect, this approach to HR leadership also helps create a cohesive work environment in which company policy is clear and well understood.


5. Proactivity

Great HR leaders don't wait for problems to resolve themselves. Instead, they go after them proactively, which saves a company time, effort and stress down the road. For example, a great HR manager would notice that an individual employee is causing tension in the workspace and seek to resolve the issue with the employee before complaints from other employees began to surface. This would maintain morale in the workspace and head difficult personnel issues off before they had a chance to develop.

Today, it's crucial for companies that want to succeed in their market to have a strong HR department. When HR leaders possess these five traits, they are better able to serve and improve a company and ensure employees' rights are protected across the board.

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