The world is changing, and the people paying the bills want different things from HR. Here's five things to look inward at and determine if you've got what it takes to lead an HR team and be a viable partner to the business leaders who will hire you in 2020. Remember, I'm talking about leading HR, not participating in running it:
1. You've got a mack daddy processor upstairs. Meaning you can take large amounts of information in and make quick, accurate decisions. Not IQ. Speed with accuracy.
2. You're as assertive as the salespeople in your organization. Great HR people have always needed to be assertive, but the need for comfort with confrontation continues to escalate. Bonus points if you can sell.
3. A comfort with no rules at all. HR people have always been good at creating structure, but HR leaders are being asked to value structure less as we get further into this century. You might hire people to do that for the function, but valuing structure over figuring stuff out on the fly for future HR leaders? Things change too rapidly these days for the old status quo to stick. High challenge, slightly ADHD HR leaders are on the rise.
4. You are organized enough at the leadership level to execute. You'd think low rules means low details. Actually, low rules with mid to high level detail orientation is in vogue. It's called the ability dream AND to execute, baby.
5. You've got skin like a fat, old rhino (low sensitivity). When you receive bad news or the rare glimmer of negative feedback, you're down for about 30 seconds and then you're moving on. Companies are increasingly looking for HR leaders who aren't afraid to fail. Failure is a necessary byproduct of attempting to add value. Safe sucks increasingly these days.
Want an easy way to to score it? Say yes or no to whether you really deliver each of 5 features, add up the yes votes and use this key:
+5 - Welcome to the club. If you are who you say you are, I'd like your resume for my clients, even if you're 28 freaking years old.
+4 - Yes, please. You missed on one thing - you're still a player.
+3 - I'm going to call you an HR "citizen". Good enough to get what the business line owners are talking about. Missing a DNA strand or two, but servicalble.
+2 - The world needs ditch-diggers too. There's still something for you to do in most HR departments with any size, but it's not leading the function.
+1 - Darwin called. He said the kids these days are growing the HR equivalent of opposable thumbs, and I don't see any thumb buds on the sides of your hand stumps. Too bad.
That's my list of the behavioral traits I see in play as we move toward the middle of the decade. Will there still be +1 and +2 HR leaders? Yes.
Will the replacements for those leaders look like their predecessors? My intel says no way.