Human Resources Leadership: Create Influence and Be Heard

February 23, 2016 Jennifer McClure


As a speaker and consultant, I often find myself talking with HR leaders about ways they can increase their impact, both on the people that they lead and in the organizations they’re a part of.

Thankfully, there are many paths for leaders to create positive impact, but the fact that human capital needs were listed by global CEOs as the top challenge ahead for 2016 (for the fourth year in a row) in The Conference Board’s annual CEO Challenge survey reveals a huge opportunity for human resources and talent acquisition leaders to step up and drive business growth in their organizations.

In other words, your organization needs you. And they need you to share your ideas and expertise in order to successfully navigate the challenges that lie ahead.

So, how can you ensure others aren’t only listening to you — but are also implementing and acting upon your recommendations?

3 Do’s and 3 Don’ts To Increase Your Influence and Be Heard:

DO: Have an opinion.

If you want your opinion to be sought after and valued, you have to first offer it. Share your ideas and unique perspectives on situations encountered by the business. Be decisive – but invite and consider ideas and opinions from others.

DO: Develop your network and personal brand.

One of the best ways to be seen as influential inside your organization is to be viewed as influential outside of it. Build your reputation as someone who is well-connected, sought out by others, and who represents your profession and your company well.

DO: Always bring data.

Do your homework and demonstrate your expertise by evaluating what’s happening 1) in the marketplace, 2) within your industry, and 3) with your competitors. Use that information to inform decisions, and always make a connection between your ideas, proposals and recommendations and the bottom line.

DON’T: Hide behind policies and laws.

One of the quickest paths to being perceived as someone with little influence is to try to force compliance or put obstacles in someone’s path by quoting policies or laws. This is the corporate-speak equivalent of “because I said so.” Help others understand the intentions and implications of the rules, and work to identify solutions that incorporate them.

DON’T: Take conflict personally.

If you’ve ever looked for a quote from “The Godfather” that you can apply to work, here it is:

It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.

Conflict can be a good thing on the path to the best ideas and solutions – but only if it’s healthy. Hold up your part of that deal by listening when others criticize your ideas or disagree with your recommendations, and also by providing constructive feedback to others when you disagree or don’t understand.

DON’T: Wait to be told what to do.

Have you ever found yourself saying, “Nobody asked me!” If so, that’s a problem – and it’s your problem, not theirs. Be vigilant and seek to understand any challenges or opportunities facing the business. Identify how you and your team can best help the organization deliver upon strategic objectives.

Remember: Influencers take action.

The talent challenges facing organizations in the future will require thought leadership, innovation and new ideas. If you want to be the one providing leadership on the path of success, focus on building your relationships and influence now with key leaders in your organization. They’re looking for a hero – and that should be you.


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