Article (September-2016)


Leadership Lessons For HR

Dr. T.V. Rao

Designation : -   Founder & Head, T.V. Rao Learning Systems

Organization : -   Ahmedabad


In an interview Dr. Udai Pareek and I gave a few years on "HRD we Dreamt" Udai drew a few lessons for HR Professionals. I strongly believe that these lessons have all time relevance for the HR profession. These lessons are also applicable to any other profession including medicine, social work, management, education, law nursing etc. with modifications to suit the respective profession.

1.    HR Needs to play more Leadership Roles and should be out of Personnel Function: 
    "I am happy to see HR increasingly occupying key positions in organizations.  Several organizations have inducted HR Heads in their Boards recently.  This shows the growing realization of the importance of HR.  In several organizations HR is fulfilling the expected role.  However, in most organizations HR continues to function as the old-time personnel department.  HR managers are not getting the respect, and in many cases, the HR function is responsible for this sorry state of affairs.  Unfortunately, HR has not yet achieved the level, which it deserves. By and large, HR is not living up to the standard expected of it".

    The two shades of HR leaders are those driven by the three Cs (Competence, commitment and culture building) versus those driven by the power of personnel administration.

2.    HR Should be rooted to be an understanding of Indian Culture and ethos: 

    The great organizations that pioneered HR in the country have on the way gone astray in relation to the spirit of HR.  In my opinion, the main reason is undue reliance on some of the consulting groups, who, without much experience in India, and without intimate knowledge of the organizations, are recommending structures and processes that are anti-HR.  It is a pity that some excellent HR practices in the organizations have been discontinued.  Several years back D.M. Silvera had independently visited several organizations, and had documented some innovative HR practices based on the Indian cultural orientations.  While some new organizations have been designing innovative practices, the older organizations, which pioneered HR function, have lost interest. 
    The two shades of HR here are consultant driven westernised HR versus the culture sensitive, self- respecting and indigenous HR