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======================================== Summary: Human resources, despite function's complex activities, should have a fundamentally simple mission, yet it is a mission that is being neglected by many HR professionals. I call that mission Leadership Imperative — helping organization recruit, retain, and develop good leaders. Here is a three-step action plan to get HR function off sidelines and into thick of game. ======================================
A Whack Up ‘long Side The Head Of Human Resources: The Leadership Imperative by Brent Filson
When we perceive simple center in seemingly complex, we can change our world in powerful new ways.
Albert Einstein perceived simple E=MC2 in complexities of physical reality and changed history of 20th century.
Big Daddy Lipscomb, Baltimore Colts 300 pound all-pro tackle in 1960s perceived simple center of what was perceived to be complex game of football. "I just wade into players," he said, "until I come to one with ball. Him I keep!" — and changed way game was played. Likewise, human resources, despite its complex activities, should have a fundamentally simple mission, yet it is a mission that is being neglected by many HR professionals. I call that mission Leadership Imperative — helping organization recruit, retain, and develop good leaders.
Clearly, without good leaders, few organizations can thrive over long run. What characterizes a good leader? A good leader consistently gets results — in ethical and motivational ways. Because they interact with all business functions and usually provide education and training for those functions, human resource professionals should be focused primarily on recruiting, retaining, and developing leaders that get results. Any other focus is a footnote.
Yet working with human resource leaders in a variety of companies for past two decades, I find that many of them are stumbling. Caught up in tempests of downsizing, compliance demands, acquisitions, mergers, and reorganizations, they are engaged in activities that have little to do with their central mission. Ignoring or at least giving short shrift to Leadership Imperative, they are too often viewed, especially by line leaders, as carrying out sideline endeavors.
Many HR leaders have nobody to blame for this situation but themselves. By neglecting Imperative, they themselves have chosen to be sideline participants.
Here is a three-step action plan to get HR function off sidelines and into thick of game.
Recognize. Link. Execute.
Before I elaborate each step, let me define leadership as it ought to be. For your misunderstanding leadership will thwart you in applying Imperative.
The word "leadership" comes from old Norse word-root meaning "to make go." Indeed, leadership is about making things go — making people go, making organizations go. But misunderstanding comes in when leaders fail to understand who actually makes what go. Leaders often believe that they themselves must make things go, that if people must go from point A to point B, let's say, that they must order them to go. But order leadership founders today in fast-changing, highly competitive markets.
In this environment, a new kind of leadership must be cultivated — leadership that aims not to order others to go from point A to point B — but instead that aims to motivate them to want take leadership in going from A to B.
That "getting others to lead others" is what leadership today should be about. And it is what we should inculcate in our clients. We must challenge them to lead, lead for results with this principle in mind, and accept nothing else from them but this leadership.
Furthermore, leadership today must be universal. To compete successfully in highly competitive, fast changing markets, organizations must be made up of employees who are all leaders in some way. All of us have leadership challenges thrust upon us many times daily. In very moment that we are trying to persuade somebody to take action, we are a leader — even if that person we are trying to persuade is our boss. Persuasion is leadership. Furthermore, most effective way to succeed in any endeavor is to take a leadership position in that endeavor.
The Imperative applies to all employees. Whatever activities you are being challenged to carry out, make Imperative a lens through which you view those activities. Have your clients recognize that your work on behalf of their leadership will pay large dividends toward advancing their careers.
Recognize: Recognize that recruiting, retaining, and developing good leaders ranks with earnings growth (or with nonprofit organizations: mission) in terms of being an organizational necessity. So most of your activities must be in some way tied to Imperative.
For instance: HR executive directors who want to develop courses for enhancing speaking abilities of their companies' leaders often blunder in design phase. Not recognizing Leadership Imperative, they err by describing them as "presentation courses." Instead, if they were guided by Imperative, they would offer courses on "leadership talks." There is a big difference between presentations and leadership talks. Presentations communicate information. Presentation courses are a dime a dozen. But leadership talks motivate people to believe in you and follow you. Leaders must speak many times daily — to individuals or groups in a variety of settings. When you provide courses to help them learn practical ways for delivering effective talks, to have them speak better so that they can lead better, you are benefitting their job performance and their careers.