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Getting the Authority You Want Through Credibility, Influence, and Reach

hr best practices hr department hr essentials hr for small business hr management Feb 08, 2021

We are seeing a dramatic increase in Human Resources (HR) 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, HR leaders need to have the authority to carry out initiatives as part of that leadership team.  But you may not have the title that tells the team you have the authority to drive change.

Authority is defined as a person or organization having power or control in a particular sphere. 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.

You’ve Got to Be Credible

Credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed in, which is a key factor for anyone in a leadership position. People are often seen as credible when 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.

In the field of HR, 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. They continue to excel as top talent in the organization. For those that need to build credentials that will lead to credibility, I always recommend HR certification as a quick and very effective first step.

Being Influential

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. HR leaders, in particular, need to be pro-active in this area.

As HR leaders, 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.

Reach Far and Wide

Finally, and likely most important in your day-to-day activities, is reach. HR professionals have to get out of their office and be sure that they are interacting with and have a deep understanding of the entire organization.

Attending department meetings through the organization without an agenda, but 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.  Leave with an understanding of group norms and the way a particular department gets things done.

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.

Stand Up and Be Seen

In many organizations, HR is still trying to get their seat at the table.  Stop waiting for your invitation, step up to the plate and take your place. Consider how the areas of credibility, influence, and reach will add to your authority in your organization. Using these concepts, you will find yourself to be a driving force in your organization.

Interested in elevating your position at work? Access a full webinar on this topic:

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