How HR Can Help Managers To Become Better Leaders

Learn about 4 ways that your HR department can help newly minted managers in your organization become better leaders.

The following is a guest piece by Kelly Barcelos.

Hiring employees is a tough job, especially today. Organizations in practically every industry are struggling to attract and retain great talent, especially in senior and executive leadership roles. With average job tenures dropping at every level, Human Resource professionals may need to play a more active role in leadership development and coaching.

Importance of HR for Business Productivity and Leadership Development

As HR professionals, you’re uniquely qualified to help leaders develop the skills, systems and processes required for achieving their own objectives as well as organizational goals. You aren’t likely to be affected by any team bias or prejudice, and probably find it easy to remain objective about the organization’s short-term and long-term needs.

Leadership development is important for organizations, since it helps:

  • Achieve and sustain high overall productivity
  • Drive revenue and improve the bottom line
  • Align leadership styles with circumstances
  • Resolve organizational problems
  • Enhance employee engagement

You can also help leaders determine job definitions for certain roles. This goes beyond job descriptions, by identifying goals for each role and then creating behavioral profiles to simplify the process of achieving them. These profiles can be used by leaders to understand their team’s needs, talents and communication styles as well.

How can HR improve leadership development in an organization?

Here are four key ways in which you can help managers become better leaders:

1. Helping both current and future leaders develop their leadership skills
New managers are often promoted without receiving any training or support that helps them build the skills they will need in their new position. As a result, they may focus on solving short-term, operational problems while losing sight of long-term objectives. The best leaders, on the other hand, use strategic skills to achieve both short-term and long-term goals.

HR professionals can help build a learning program that helps managers analyze the industry at both a macro and micro level, understand details that will affect their decisions, and develop their identity as leaders. Support and nurture employees who display strategic talents and leadership capabilities as well, to ensure you don’t lose future leaders.

2. Implementing leadership recruitment, appraisal and promotion systems
Systems, policies and processes that recognize and support good leadership can make a huge difference to an organization’s hiring success, especially with retaining potential leaders. Along with learning and development systems, the right recruitment, appraisal and promotion processes can help with employee engagement and positive leadership as well.

These systems can help your organization make sure that only people with existing or potential leadership capabilities and people management skills are put into leadership roles. For those with great technical skills but lacking the qualities needed for managing others, the same systems can ensure that their contributions are recognized through technical promotions.

3. Maintaining an employee-centric approach throughout the organization
In the past, leadership followed a militaristic approach that did not take interpersonal skills or employee engagement/development into account. With the modern workforce, however, this top-down approach simply doesn’t work. Today, managers at any level are expected to follow a people-centric and collaborative leadership model, and HR needs to encourage this.

It has become more critical than ever to hire the right people, especially in leadership positions. Along with a smart hiring strategy, modern HR technology and recruiting software can help you make better decisions on this front. Employee development and retention programs that build the capabilities and skills of the collective talent pool can also make a difference.

4. Helping leaders embrace design-oriented strategy and decision making
Instead of the classic hierarchical structure, most organizations have shifted to a team-based approach, creating networks to target specific projects or goals. As such, leaders need to adapt to constantly-changing structures and processes, as well as assume the role of organizational architects and pursue redesigns that help with achieving long-term objectives.

This requires people in leadership positions to have a clear understanding of the organizational structure, how various networks are connected within it, and the impact of their decisions at every point of this fluid design. As HR professionals, you can help by encouraging peer-to-peer learning as well as input and feedback from internal stakeholders.

Combining these four aspects of leadership development helps to create a more cohesive and supportive structure, benefiting management across the organization as well as other employees and yourself. In addition, consider an employee onboarding, recruitment and retention strategy that also takes leadership succession planning into account.

When someone in a leadership position retires or changes jobs, succession planning ensures you have another strong leader ready to take over. Hiring and training potential leaders today ensures that your organization will not lack for good managers tomorrow. In the dynamic and uncertain world of HR hiring and retention, this could be the key to long-term success!

Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager specializing in HR and is responsible for leading Jobsoid’s content and social media team. When Kelly is not building campaigns, she is busy creating content and preparing PR topics. She started with Jobsoid as a social media strategist and eventually took over the entire digital marketing team with her innovative approach and technical expertise.

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Tanveer Naseer is an award-winning and internationally-acclaimed leadership writer and keynote speaker. He is also the Principal and Founder of Tanveer Naseer Leadership, a leadership coaching firm that works with executives and managers to help them develop practical leadership and team-building competencies to guide organizational growth and development. Tanveer’s writings and insights on leadership and workplace interactions have been featured in a number of prominent media and organization publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, Inc Magazine, Canada’s national newspaper “The Globe and Mail”, The Economist Executive Education Navigator, and the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center.

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