Having the courage of your convictions – Courageous Leadership #1
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Finding your voice

‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ is a famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi, a man who had significant historical and global influence.

If Gandhi was a modern day HR Leader, what would his focus be in living out the changes he wanted to see happening in an organisation. Would his focus be more on the welfare of the people or the health of the balance sheet? Would he be a backroom pen pusher or a boardroom visionary? We will never know; however what the HR profession can learn from his inspiring example is that there are times when it is essential to speak up, speak out and break the mould.

HR is more often seen as an opportunistic chancer rather than being a true ‘agent of change’. As with any specialty field, HR tends to be insular in its thinking, transactional in its actions and short term in its strategic focus. But, if there was one burning issue which collectively the world of HR decided to come together to challenge and seek to radically overhaul what would it be? What would propel HR from being a follower to a leader, from being an invited guest at the ‘top table’ to being a shaper of the world of business?

If you have any ideas of what the ‘burning issue’ may be then it would be great to hear from you but for the time being just reflect on it and then ask yourself the following questions to get a sense of how strong your convictions are in respect of you being a HR Professional:

  • What upsets me and what gives me hope?
  • What’s keeping me from being who I want to be?
  • How comfortable am I at ‘opening up’ to others and being honest with them – about me and them?
  • Is my curiosity about the world increasing or decreasing?
  • Do I feel more or less energy for my work than a few years ago?
  • Have you noticed anything you would like to change?

We need time to develop clarity and courage. If you want your world to be different, the first act needs to be reclaiming time to think. Nothing will change for the better until you do that!

What high performing HR Professionals do

Our research and direct experiences shows that courageous HR leaders are a rarity and stand out from the crowd. Why? Well, first and foremost they have a clear sense of what they stand for, a passion for what they can contribute and a willingness to consistently live this out. Many of us may profess to be courageous but the key is whether you actively and publicly demonstrate personal leadership, embrace uncertainty, are willing to challenge others and take decisions, even at personal risk and seek ways to empower those people around you to lead.

In other words, you are leading by example! Not only your immediate team but the wider organisation – no easy task when in times of economic turmoil orgnaisations seek greater conformity whereas what is really needed is more liberation to enable employees to be more innovative, responsible, motivated and committed.

You’ll know you are a courageous leader when you:

  • Have a clear sense of what are your core personal values and are consistently demonstrating these in your interactions with the people you engage with and the decisions you take
  • Are able to balance an ability to deal with uncertainty without being incautious or inconsiderate.
  • Create and communicate a sense of purpose for the leadership and HR teams and publicly displays courage and conviction in making it happen.
  • Actively encourages and supports a working environment (both within the HR community and the organisation) which enables individuals to take responsibility, openly share and contribute to the growth of the organisation.
  • Encourages and supports the personal development of others
  • Set clear and consistent performance standards to team members and holds them directly accountable for achieving them.
  • Clearly delegate both routine and important tasks / decisions and trusts people to perform.
  • Build a powerful and purposeful team, which inspires accomplishment and team spirit.

To find out how CourageousHR can support the development of your HR Function please email [email protected] to arrange a call to discuss your specific development needs.