This morning I read an interesting working group summary from CAHRS about the changing role of the HR Business Partner. It’s chock-full of wonderful insights from a myriad of HR people at amazing companies including Chevron, Cisco, GE, IBM, Shell, and Verizon. And it’s an absolute must read for any HR Generalist (it caused me to re-think much of the way I approach the function). Check it out here.

With that said, today I want to focus on a section near the end of the summary. It examines the qualities (as determined by HR leaders at the working group) that define great HRBPs. It reads as follows:

Good vs Great
…Again, go here for the full article, but this is a good list because it speaks to qualities that most of us should be able to recognize in ourselves… or not. Reading through it gave me a good road map for where I am and where I need to be. It was a reminder to keep doing well the things I do well (e.g. always doing what’s right, landing on the side of truth, being flexible), and to improve in the areas where I have gaps (like asking the right questions and becoming a better business person).

…The list was also a reminder to have courage. To name a few instances, it stresses the importance of knowing when to challenge rules and conventions. It talks about pushing to get at the right questions to solve the right problems. It talks about having integrity even when you don’t have to. And it talks about seeking truth over bias. None of these things are easy. And they require us to (at times) be very brave.

I want to think on this a while longer… but I would note that many of these qualities are ones that a great leader in any functional role would possess. Are these traits intrinsic or can they be cultivated? Which ones? And by when? How?

As always please share your thoughts in the comments section below.