14 characteristics of the ideal HR leader

HR Leader
Tom Haak

Are you business oriented?

A Dutch network is compiling a list with the top 100 Dutch HR Directors.  They asked a group of CEO’s what they like to see in a good HR Director. Their top three: 1. Business orientation 2. Good connector. 3. High impact.

They asked me if I could answer two questions for a video to be used to promote the election of the HR leader of the year in 2014. The second question: When you look back at your youth, when did you first show business orientation, and your ability to connect and have a high impact?

Oh, oh, the moment of truth! I think I am a good HR leader, and that I belong in the Top 100 (to make the Dutch Top 100 cannot be too difficult!). I dug deep in my youth memories, but I could not find any example of business orientation or entrepreneurship. A good connector at my high school? Maybe. Some projects with a high impact with my friends of the Black Hand when I was eleven? Too early to reveal and I do not want to incriminate any of my youth friends. I will have to make up an answer, still two days to go.

Important characteristics of an HR leader

What would my list of important characteristics of an HR leader look like? The top of my list, not necessarily in order of importance:

  1. A good HR professional, with a broad view on the profession.
  2. Is independent.
  3. Has a very good relation with CEO and other members of the top team.
  4. Has a clear vision, and is able to articulate the vision.
  5. Business orientation, and more, loves the business she/ he works in.
  6. Is creative and innovative.
  7. Is able to design and implement high impact HR interventions.
  8. Is a change agent and loves change.
  9. Has a great ability to influence others, including the CEO.
  10. Has a strong network she/he can utilise.
  11. Has a global orientation and international experience.
  12. Is a people person.
  13. Can attract and challenge talent.
  14. Can deal with ambiguity.

Personally I would also like a person with a good sense of humor, who does not take the HR profession too serious.

Watch the video: 


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