Anatomy of a future HR leader

Helen Pitcher OBE participate in an article by Jenny Roper for HRMagazine.
Below is an expert.

HR magazine convened current and former HRDs to determine the skills future HR leaders will need, where they excel, and where there's room for improvement

What should the HR leader of tomorrow look like? A seemingly simple question… The answer though is a much more complex – or perhaps alarmingly short and unilluminating – ‘we just don’t know’.

Which applies to the whole gamut of functional heads, not just HR. The challenge? Our fast-changing operating climate. And it’s not just the private sector, or specifically the British high street, being rocked by Brexit and radically disruptive industry-changing technologies. The public sector, thanks to the instability of recent governments, more extreme political movements, and of course Brexit, has also become a place of constant flux.

And it’s safe to say that tomorrow’s world will be even more difficult to forecast moment to moment. Which means predicting the exact technical skills HR professionals will need – in a future characterised by continual reskilling and ‘agile learning’ for all parts of the workforce – will become an increasingly fraught endeavour.

Expect the unexpected

The one thing we do know, however, is that to survive and thrive in the future world of work – particularly when it comes to leadership positions – professionals will need to be able to stay resilient, positive, open-minded and strategically-savvy in the face of sudden dramatic changes of direction. This was the conclusion a panel of top current and former HRDs (representing the public, private and third sectors) came to when they met towards the end of last year to discuss the topic with HR magazine; and to help compile an assessment, in partnership with psychometrics firm Great People Inside (GPI), to see whether those on track to be HR leaders have what it takes.


Our panel chose nine dimensions (see box below), selecting for each where HR business partners (HRBPs) should sit along a sliding scale of one to 10 to have HR leadership potential. Stress and resilience, engagement, curiosity and self-awareness, and a VUCA approach were qualities our panel decided the HR leader of the future should possess in particularly strong amounts (i.e. the more resilient, engaged, curious and VUCA-ready the better).

To read the full article click here.