At the 2023 Employee Benefits Summit, we were thrilled to welcome Dr. Stevie Dawn Carter as a keynote speaker to lead a captivating session on effective communication for HR leadership. Her expertise gave attendees valuable insights into enhancing their leadership skills through improved communication practices.
Leadership is a critical aspect of human resource management. As you know, it plays a vital role in shaping an organization’s culture, values and success. HR is essentially the people business, and as people and practices evolve, the importance of effective HR leadership only grows.
Before we dive into the four steps to define your HR Leadership brand, we want to pose this question – How do people see you as a leader? Knowing your leadership style is key to understanding how you best manage your team and how your team perceives you. If you’re unsure of your leadership style, check out this article by Business News Daily.
4 Steps to Defining Your HR Leadership Brand
1. Understand that Communication is a Two-Way Street
When managing a team and considering communication styles, the default is to consider how you, the leader, speak with your team. This is vital. Maintaining clarity in conversations by being specific and straightforward helps your team understand expectations. Keeping an optimistic attitude can also do wonders for your management style and how your team views you. Though difficult, aim to avoid a “What is the worst thing that could happen” attitude and seek the silver lining.
As we mentioned, communication is a two-way street, especially for those in HR leadership roles. To be an effective leader, you must learn to listen gracefully. You will only know about the different personalities on your team, their strengths and weaknesses, or what makes them tick if you sit back and listen. This is a critical step in defining your leadership brand. Be the leader that listens.
2. Set Realistic Expectations Related to Time Management
Time is money. And, as someone in a leadership position, you’re asked to do much more with your time to serve your company’s goals and be profitable. On top of that, you’re leading a team and guiding them to execute efficient time management techniques to be successful.
You may often feel like there’s not enough time in the day, and you can’t show up for your team the way they need. So, here’s how you can set impactful expectations related to time:
- Respect your time – If you need to block an hour to gather your thoughts or prepare for a team meeting, do it! But if you commit to yourself, try your best to keep it. That’s the hardest part.
- Be honest – If someone asks for 5 minutes of your time (and when is it ever only 5 minutes?) and your to-do list is a mile long, be honest and say you can’t meet then. But suggest an alternate time and get something penciled in.
- Don’t interrupt your team – Unless there’s a “fire,” try not to take over someone else’s scheduled call or meeting. They have their agenda, talking points and objectives ready to go — you shouldn’t interrupt them. Instead, work to schedule a meeting or even request a walk and talk.
- Set specific expectations for your team — If you say the work day starts at 8 a.m., what does that mean? What if an hour lunch often turns into an hour and fifteen for your employees? Make your expectations related to time management clear. It will be beneficial for everyone.
3. Give Credit Where Credit is Due
What is the best way to measure your success as a leader? Look at the success of your team. Let’s be honest; no one likes a braggy boss. Steer away from promoting yourself externally and instead create an internal culture where team members can brag about one another and are encouraged to do so.
Praising your team in-person does wonders for morale and the overall culture. While written memos or monthly internal newsletters offer nice recognition, hearing it directly from you will always be more impactful. Plus, when your team knows they are doing a job well done, they are more likely to keep achieving their goals and increase productivity. Remember, the success of your team is a reflection of your leadership.
4. Maintain Confidence
You have this role for a reason. When defining your HR leadership brand, the one word you want to describe yourself as is confident. Your team should view you as someone they respect, look up to, and, more importantly, can turn to for guidance and advice. Maintaining a sense of authority while extending a helping hand is noticed by your team.
As mentioned in Step #1, how you communicate matters. But what matters more is what your team hears. They should view you as a reliable, trustworthy leader who has your team’s best interest at heart and knows how to reach core objectives by challenging and encouraging others.
HR leadership is essential. A strong leader inspires and motivates employees, leading to success for the organization, job satisfaction, and loyalty. This characteristic helps attract and retain top talent, which is crucial for long-term success.
Defining your leadership brand helps you evolve as a leader and benefits your team and future employees for years to come. A good leader never goes out of style.
About Dr. Stevie Dawn Carter
As a motivational speaker and coach, Dr. Stevie Dawn Carter is focused on helping people to unleash unstoppable success in their lives both personally and professionally. Her educational background includes a master’s degree in sociology from Wichita State University and doctorate in leadership from Colorado State University. Her experience as a 4-time business owner, along with her work in the private and public sector, allows her to enhance her presentations with real life stories and examples that are applicable to every audience. With over 20 years of teaching and training experience, Dr. Stevie Dawn Carter approaches every engagement with humor, inspiration, and energy to get people moving toward their best lives.