The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Authority Can Be Earned – But It Takes Work!

use carefully

We are seeing a dramatic increase in Human Resources professionals that are considered a member of the leadership team and impacting the strategic initiatives in their organization. In order to make a full impact, Human Resources leaders in organizations need to have the authority to carry out initiatives as part of that leadership team. Authority is defined a person or organization having power or control in a particular sphere.  As the image depicts, we can often establish ourselves as a person in a position of authority if we demonstrate that we are credible, influential and have reach throughout the organization.

Credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed in, which a key factor for anyone in a leadership position. People are often seen as credible based years of experience, educational degrees and certification in a field demonstrating expertise. But if you don’t have time – there are ways to increase your credibility. A few tips can be found in a quick article on credibility In the field of human resources, we often have leaders come through other areas of the organization. Many HR professionals haven’t had formal education, but have a great understanding of people and operations and are top talent. For those that need to build credentials that will lead to credibility, I always strongly recommend certification in human resources as a quick and very effective first step.

Influence is the ability to have an effect on the development or behavior of someone or something. Employees look to leaders for guidance, and will follow in the footsteps of those they feel are influential. I really embrace the list of 15 great tips on how to become more influential. HR leaders in particular need to be pro-active in this areas. We should be reflective of our culture and be able to speak fluently about the business operation. We must be approachable to all internally, but also be able to separate from the employee population as executives: HR leaders must know and understand “the gang” without being a member of the group. Writing skills should provide a level of communication that demonstrates executive experience, while still being approachable to the internal culture.

And finally, and likely most important in your day-to-day activities is reach. HR professionals have to get out and be sure that they are interacting with and have a deep understanding of the entire organization. I recommend attending other department meetings just to listen. Begin to understand what their world is like, and you will be able to reach across department barriers to better serve your customers. Make the same connections with those outside your organization. Participate in industry conferences to learn what is on the mind of your CEO. Connect with organizational stakeholders so you understand what drives them – and you can design initiates around those goals. Finally, be sure you are aligned with your vendors in a way that they are providing support that goes far beyond basic service and paying an invoice.

HR is still trying to get their seat at the table, and its one of my favorite topics. Consider for yourself how the areas of credibility, influence and reach will add to your authority in your organization.

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