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The Most Important Trait for an HR Pro to Possess

As a profession, I find we spend a lot of time trying to figure out what makes up a good HR Pro. There seems to be a general mindset within our profession that there is some sort of perfect makeup that when it aligns, creates a super HR Pro. I am pretty sure this does not exist. The reality is that I think certain traits, characteristics and abilities (when combined) work well for HR Pros in some situations and not in others. In fact, I firmly believe that the success of HR Pros is often driven by their own personal “toolbox” and how that fits with the work environment and culture they are a part of.

IntegrityIn my career, I have had the privilege of working for and with a variety of great HR Pros, many of whom have had great sustained HR career success. They are all different and unique in their own way in terms of their personalities, knowledge, skills and abilities. They are also definitely unique individuals in terms of their own personal toolbox of personal characteristics, beliefs and values and ultimately I think that is what makes the conversation of what makes a great HR Pro so fascinating. It is that the conversation must encompass and consider individual values and beliefs within the context of different work environment – so there is no one size fits all in terms of what makes an HR Pro “good.”

So here is the thing, while this magical combination of things (knowledge, skills, values, etc.) will vary from HR Pro to HR Pro and their own success will vary from company to company and work environment to work environment, I do believe that there is one trait that all highly successful HR Pros must (and do) possess. This trait is independent of what school you went to, your upbringing and what work influences have shaped you. Regardless of anything else, great HR Pros possess a high degree of personal integrity.

I find, personally, I reflect on my own integrity a lot. This occurs based on the various and complex situations we as HR Pros are faced with in our jobs. As organizational stewards, we must always be the conscious of the companies we work for. We must hold ourselves and others to a degree of integrity in our dealings with each other, our employees and other businesses. As HR Pros, we always talk about wanting to be respected and to elevate the standing of our profession. Well, here is one major way to do it – possess and portray integrity. Hold ourselves, our leadership teams, our employees and the organizations we work for to a (higher) standard of integrity. Make sure that we maintain our own personal integrity in all that we do and ensure that it is portrayed in the advice and counsel we give our leaders and employees.

Remember, integrity is not circumstance dependent. We can’t have integrity in some situations but “flex” it in others. Integrity is a 24/7, 365 days a year thing – let’s make sure we hold ourselves and each other accountable. Who is with me?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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