This article is brought to you by Deakin University.

Self-awareness, communication, and lifelong learning are the three core traits for HR leaders to make a positive impact upon their team and their organisation.

Being a successful HR leader can take years of professional development, experience and commitment. Great leaders possess a unique set of traits and skills that have a positive impact upon their team and their organisation. The HR department is integral to a successful business and requires strong leadership and strategic direction to create an inclusive and positive workplace environment.

A HR team is the first point of contact when joining a new organisation and largely responsible for workplace culture, policies and practices, but what are some of the key traits a HR leader needs to create this culture?


Often described as the foundation of emotional intelligence, possessing self-awareness is key to a great leader. A study conducted by Korn/Ferry International found self-awareness in employees correlates with financial success. Poor performing companies were 79% more likely to have low self-awareness than their successful counterparts.

Successful HR leaders are aware of their leadership style, personal traits and strengths and weaknesses, which allows for greater transparency in a team and subsequently business success.


Clear and concise communication skills are essential for any successful leader, especially in the HR sector. One of the main functions of any HR professional is facilitating communication between employees, employers and stakeholders. During the recruitment process, HR executives need to fine tune the art of communication to ensure that they have gained all the information they need and that the potential employees fully understand their role and what can be expected.
Communicating the correct procedures in a time of crisis is crucial, and a direct responsibility of a HR leader.
Internal communication is a vital part of any organisation and communicating to employees across all business levels is a daily task in any HR department. It’s essential for a HR leader to conduct their communications in a professional and fair manner, especially in the case of communicating important business news.

The role of a HR leader in an incident of crisis is pivotal to the safety of all employees. Confidently implementing a crisis management plan and communicating the correct procedures in a time of crisis is crucial, and a direct responsibility of a HR leader.

Lifelong learning

It’s important for HR professionals to have a commitment to lifelong learning and networking. Staying on top of industry trends, products and technologies encourages innovation and increased efficiency. HR leaders can benefit greatly from upskilling and keeping a finger on the industry pulse through further training and education.

Deakin University’s Professional Practice degree is a unique master’s qualification designed for senior professionals that value the importance of effective leadership. The course acknowledges professional experience that is consolidated into a fast-tracked qualification.

The Master of Leadership credentials are designed to be applicable to workplace situations, covering topics such as driving strategic results, critical thinking and global citizenship.