Source | Harvard Business Review : By Jack Zenger & Joseph Folkman
HR seems to have become every manager and employee’s favorite corporate punching bag, vying with IT for the dubious title of most-irritating function. We have seen a parade of articles recently calling for HR to be blown up, split in two, or at the very least, redesigned.
Perhaps this is a good moment to evaluate what it is we really want from our HR leaders—and what we don’t. Over the last five years, Zenger Folkman has collected 360-degree feedback data on 2,187 HR leaders. These leaders are spread across hundreds of different organizations with 68% of those leaders located in the US, 11% in Asia, 8% in Europe, 7% in Latin America, 4% in Canada, and 1% in Africa. Comparing assessments of leaders in the HR function with those of leaders in other functions, our data suggest that the typical HR leader is seen as six percentile points below average.
We analyzed the data in two different ways. First, we contrasted the results for the 2,187 HR leaders in our dataset with those of 29,026 leaders in other functions. We were able to identify a few key skills that were common strengths of those in HR and some that appeared fairly frequently as weaknesses. Second, we rank-ordered 49 leadership behaviors for all those in HR from the most negative to the most positive behaviors.
Strengths of HR Leaders
Developing and coaching others. One of the most positive areas for HR leaders in general was that they were truly concerned about developing others. This set them apart from leaders in other functions, who did not score highly on this skill. They were also rated positively on providing coaching, acting as a mentor, and giving feedback in a helpful way.