Today’s businesses simply will not survive without bigger, bolder, more hands-on leadership from corporate leaders and HR executives who are engaged and aware of the demands of the organization. We do not need people who lead from above without any real understanding of what is needed and what will work. Kevin Daum discusses bold leadership on Inc. The traits he describes: owning your flaws and strengths, keeping clear priorities, speaking up, pairing action with knowledge, accepting the value of failure, making the most of small wins, and building momentum are the necessary traits for today’s successful leaders, who must use those traits to develop bold behaviors.

To be a bold leader, do these three things now:

  1. Be OUT in the business. Whether you are an energy industry CHRO who goes out on the oil rigs, a shipping industry EVP who spends a week out on a ship, or a manufacturing CEO who spends time on the factory floor, you need to get out from behind your desk and be out in the business.
  2. Know the business. Please stop sitting behind your desk and thinking you know what’s happening. If you really want to know your business, go out on sales calls, attend meetings regularly with clients, or spend a day working in the call center taking calls with your customer service department. When I worked at Tiffany’s, everyone in the HR department was required to work shifts on the retail floor during the holidays. That first-hand view of the daily experience of our sales people and our customers was essential to creating better teams, better policies, and a better experience for everyone.
  3. Give credible, value-added input. Along with insightful, accurate data, the only way you can give credible input is if you have a deep understanding of the business you are in.

[Tweet “Bold #leadership: Be OUT in the business, KNOW the business, give value-added input. #BeBold”]

Some of these above ideas may not seem bold, but I contend they are. In working with a variety of clients in growth enterprises and Fortune 500s, not doing the above is costly. The excuses are endless. Engagement with your employees and the whole organization is essential for bold leaders. These are the behaviors of bold leaders, and I encourage you to start doing them often. 

Create a Stronger, More Attractive Organization

As an HR executive, you may sometimes be called on the carpet for moving in the wrong direction. I encourage you to be bold in your confidence and convictions. You do know what you are doing; you have the experience, the depth of knowledge in organizational behavior, and the expertise in talent management and workforce planning to understand what must be done. If you’re working side-by-side with your senior executives as you should be, you’ll have the vision of the future firmly in mind, too.  It has always served me well over the years to have confidence and strength of opinion informed by data and expertise. Don’t waiver – but don’t stagnate, either.

[Tweet “Required NOW: bigger, bolder, hands-on #leadership from corporate leaders & #HRexecutives.”]

To prevent stagnation, you must stimulate different thinking, ideas, and views. Do this by bringing non-HR staff into the HR department. By rotating talent through the HR function, you can have the best business thinking to provide better perspective. Ultimately, every HR executive and senior leader is responsible for creating an organization where people want to work, will work, and can thrive. It all starts with being bold enough to not only propose the right action but actually take the action.  So go on, do something bold today.


As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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