4 Vital Competencies That Differentiate Top HR Leaders from the RestWe started working with Troy, an HR leader with a consumer goods manufacturer, last spring. He reached out for help with culture and organization development because communication breakdowns had created extreme silo behavior causing engagement and productivity levels to drop. Working with Troy we found the common ground among the competing departments and he adroitly coordinated an offsite management retreat with pre-assessments to help us focus the group on strategic problems connected to customer issues. Following the retreat — which further raised his credibility and influence — he’s playing a strong and effective role in working with us to analyze and solve implementation issues while helping leaders set their personal, team, and organizational performance targets much higher.

A progress update meeting with Troy coincided with just having posted “Ten Critical Questions to Assess HR’s Effectiveness” and newly published Harvard Business Review research by Zenger Folkman. “What Separates Great HR Leaders from the Rest“, reports on ZF’s study of 2,187 HR leaders across hundreds of organizations around the globe. Four competencies sharply distinguished top quartile HR leaders from their much less effective peers:

  • Establishes Stretch Goals
  • Solves Problems and Analyzes Issues
  • Develops Strategic Perspective
  • Connects to the Outside World

Some HR professionals have changed their titles to “HR Partner” to signal the role they want to play. The appearance of articles in high profile management publications on the need to blow up, split, or redesign HR shows that many aren’t seen as partners. Too often HR is internally focused, slow to respond, taken on a policing role, continuing outdated “same old, same old” practices, or slowing down much needed leadership and culture reforms.

Troy’s strong leadership makes him an invaluable — and rare — HR leader. He exemplifies the four vital HR competencies. His business card doesn’t say HR Partner but the rest of the executive team clearly sees him as a critical player in co-creating a powerful new culture.