Are you a good leader – or a great one?

The importance of HR as a partner has been growing

Are you a good leader – or a great one?

What defines a good leader? Strength of character? A talent for persuasion? An understanding of culture and values? For Sharon Robinson, director of HR at Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, it all comes down to vision.

“To be a truly great leader, you need to be able to relay a compelling mission,” she told HRD. “An excellent leader is someone who creates a picture for their people, helping them to understand what the company stands for and where it’s going.”

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The past few months have been chaotic to say the least. The COVID-19 pandemic threw employers for a loop, with organizations shifting to remote work seemingly overnight. This pivot was only really made possible because of the hard work and determination of HR leaders. Now, as we begin to see a light at the end of the COVID tunnel, it’s time to celebrate those HR practitioners who made it all possible.

“Could there ever be a more important time to celebrate HR as a community and as a profession?” added Robinson. “The importance of HR as a strategic business partner has been growing over the last couple of decades - but in the last 16 months, during the pandemic, HR has completely stepped up to the table. It’s been HR that’s provided strategic advice – HR that’s navigated the C-suite through unchartered waters.”

Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, it’ clear that leaders need to adapt in order to thrive. Gone are the old archaic leadership tropes, making way for characteristics such as compassion, empathy, and trust. 

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“HR leaders need to listen to both their employees and their fellow leaders,” added Robinson. “What sorts of concerns are people voicing? Which strategies have worked well? Which have failed? What do your people need to thrive going forward? HR leaders have to be perfectly in tune with their teams wants and needs – that’s the only real way to make sure you thrive, both as a company and as individuals.”

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