HomeLeadershipIndustry insights: What leadership competencies can advance your career in HR?

Industry insights: What leadership competencies can advance your career in HR?

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A round-up of industry-recognized insight and analysis from McKinsey, Deloitte, and more on the skills and leadership competencies that can help HR leaders increase their value and advance their career

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As aspiring CHROs, CLOs, and CPOs, current HR, Talent, and L&D Directors and VPs need to develop a wide range of skills to navigate workplace challenges independently. In this Industry Insights round-up, we provide a detailed look at what leadership competencies and capabilities industry experts believe these leaders need to develop, and how HR leaders can become self-sufficient.

1. Developing AI leadership competencies

As tasks become more sophisticated, HR leaders must be able to evaluate the solutions AI suggests and understand which AI tools are best for which tasks. But they also need to understand its potential applications and risks. In an article for Fortune, Paige McGlauflin argues AI has the potential to transform HR functions, from hiring and performance evaluations to data management. However, she argues that improperly built and managed tools can lead to bias and data leaks. HR leaders need to become familiar with AI tools and applications, vet them carefully, and identify how AI can complement human decision-making and safely speed up processes.

To develop these skills, HR leaders can turn to resources such as McKinsey’s guide to outcompeting in the age of digital and AI. This guide provides insights into how AI is changing the way people work and the new skills required to work with AI tools effectively.

2. Improving well-being intelligence

With the rise in workplace mental health issues, HR leaders need to develop well-being intelligence as a skill set and tool to understand and improve their own and employees’ well-being. This involves understanding and addressing mental health challenges at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Building self-awareness of one’s well-being is the first step, followed by understanding and addressing the well-being of others.

3. Embracing servant leadership competencies

Traditional management styles have reached their limits in the 21st century. A new approach to leadership is emerging, sometimes called “servant leadership.” This approach focuses on leaders being in service of the people they lead, practicing empathy, compassion, vulnerability, gratitude, self-awareness, and self-care. These qualities can enhance both team performance and satisfaction.

HR leaders can develop this skillset by transforming their personal mindsets and behaviors, their teams, and the broader organization. This transformation involves moving beyond traditional roles to become visionaries, architects, catalysts, coaches, and humans. Empowering employees, providing clear rules and roles, avoiding being a complicit manager, addressing culture and skills, and soliciting personal feedback are all part of this transformation.

4. Empowering employees and fostering a culture of learning

HR leaders need to empower employees by providing clear rules and roles, avoiding being a complicit manager, addressing culture and skills, and soliciting personal feedback. Effective communication is crucial for leaders, especially in times of uncertainty.

HR leaders can also work on promoting the meaning and purpose behind the work, not the work itself. Top talent seeks organizations with a compelling mission, vision, and purpose. By emphasizing the importance of purpose in their work and how it contributes to the company’s growth, HR leaders can better empower employees to reach their full potential.

5. Considering tech leadership competencies

Deloitte Insights highlights five distinct abilities that tech leaders should develop: Engineer, Architect, Data Scientist, Change Agent, and Owner. As the HR profession faces an increasing need to develop technology capabilities and data literacy, HR leaders aiming to be effective transformational leaders and become future CHROs should cultivate these competencies.

They should learn to envision and design technology environments (Architect), manage, and analyze data (Data Scientist), instigate, and manage digital transformations (Change Agent), and identify business challenges and create innovative solutions (Owner).

From managing the vendor acquisition process for HR SaaS products to managing the use of AI within their organization, tech leadership competencies are increasingly a source of value to HR leaders.

The need for upskilling in HR leadership

The future of the HR profession hinges on the ability of its leaders to upskill. Developing this mix of technical or data-driven, interpersonal, and practical skills will help HR leaders prepare for future workplace challenges by enabling them to effectively manage their teams, make informed decisions, and contribute to the overall success of their organizations.

Upskilling is not just about personal development; it’s about ensuring the future success of the organization. As HR leaders develop their skills, they can better guide their teams and drive their organizations forward. They can also set an example for their employees, fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth.

Moreover, upskilling is crucial for staying competitive in the evolving business landscape. As technology continues to advance, HR leaders who fail to upskill risk falling behind. By developing capabilities from tech leadership competencies to effective communication, HR leaders can ensure they are ready to lead in the digital age.

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