Will the real HR manager please stand up?

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By Abram Molelemane

A good human resource manager, or someone capable who manages that role in a business as part of their portfolio, is a great asset. Often HR managers are considered as tick-box specialists or paper pushers, but in truth they are a lot more than that – not only are they responsible for maintaining employer – employee relations and ensuring that workers are happy, but they also have to deal with the hiring and firing side of things, as well as compensation and benefits issues, training, listening to employee complaints and implementing and explaining in –house policies. What a job….
Given the gruelling and intensive social nature of HR management, it goes without saying that certain skills are required. Here are a few of these:

Great communication skills
Excellent communication skills are a must for a successful HR professional. The ability to write clearly and make a well structured presentation or speech with confidence, without having to include all the “ums” and “likes” “and “errs” will set you heads above the others around you. It is worth all the time, money and effort to learn to master this skill.

Be accessible and authentic
One of the most important attributes of a successful HR professional is that they must be amicable and authentic for every level of the business. Making yourself available will ensure that you will be able to keep your finger on the pulse and have a holistic understanding of the organisation.

Ability to read people
The ability to “read” people is another key HR skill. Most of us who have been around have developed an ability to read people. We acquire the ability to sense if someone is lying or trying to deceive us. We have a feel for “body language” and what it may be telling us about attitudes. This, however, is something we can all get better at with training. You can learn to notice and understand some universal expressions, postures and micro-expressions that reveal subtleties about an individual that will then allow you to better understand how to deal with them.

Conflict Management and Problem Solving
It’s true that not all workers get along. High productivity demands that people work together in a civil manner – as HR manager you have to find ways to allow that to happen. That also goes for all the countless other problems that hit HR’s in-box—you can’t be effective without problem-solving ability.

Be an active listener and approachable
Employees must feel they can approach the HR manager with their problems. They want to know that you truly listen to them and will help them find viable solutions to their issues. If an employee has a problem at work, it will likely affect his job performance. If the HR manager seems unapproachable, the employee will be reluctant to go to him/her and problems will fester instead of being resolved.

Trusted Adviser
Above all, the person in charge of HR should be the conscience of the company, as well as the keeper of confidential information. Great HR managers rise above the perception of being ‘policemen’ by creating an atmosphere of trust, and honest and straightforward communication.
Being in HR and doing it well is not an easy job. To be a good HR professional you need the prudence of Nostradamus, the vision of Isaac Asimov, the acumen of Solomon, the courage of Nelson Mandela, the speaking ability of Cicero and the boldness of Theodore Roosevelt…feel like giving it a bash?

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