13 Traits A Small Business HR Manager Needs To Have

Running a small business is more than a full-time job, it’s a lifestyle.

Your team is your family, and every decision you make is critical to forward progress. What’s more, is that in a small business setting you’re really never wearing just one hat: the CEO has to make a few cups of coffee alongside her baristas, and sometimes the CFO is making cold calls or fulfilling orders.

That’s just a part of the lifestyle.

All the more important, then, that you have an HR Manager who’s truly up for the task. Beyond being comfortable with the ins and outs of HR, and the intricacies that come with working alongside personnel matters, the HR manager needs to have certain intangible qualities that they probably don’t teach you in school.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of some of those intangible essentials. While they aren’t all skills you can develop overnight—and some may simply come naturally—they’re all attainable with the right attitude.

If you’re ready to throw yourself into your small business HR role and give it all you’ve got, take a self-examination of how you match up with these traits, and start to develop them in your everyday routine.

1. Transparency

Things aren’t always going to be easy, and you’re not always going to have the perfect answer. And when there are only a few people in the room, that’s going to be hard not to notice. The remedy is transparency. If you can truly be upfront and clear about all your decisions, you’ll garner all the respect you deserve.

2. Tact

There are going to be a number of uncomfortable conversations that you have along the way. If you don’t know how to approach them with care and caution, they could get ugly quick. Instead, learn to develop tact and timing, so that you’re approaching people in the best manner possible, and getting to the issue right away.

3. Time Management

As someone who’s going to be a jack-of-all-trades at times, you don’t have the luxury of lagging behind. Learn how to prioritize the big stuff, and set aside the menial tasks for another day—and use the myriad tools at your disposal to keep track of tasks and employees through online networks and task managers.

4. Organization

Many of those project managers can be used for you to sort out all of the different “departments” who have to use you as their main channel of communication. Check out this list for tons of places to start.

5. Bold Communication

While tact can sometimes mean being ginger in the way you talk to your coworkers, beating around the bush is not something you can often afford to do in a small business environment. Learn how to communicate your direct needs and opinions in a non-confrontational way that still gets the point across quickly and effectively.

6. Multitasking

When you’re wearing multiple hats, it’s going to be hard to tell which one’s most prominent at any given moment. Start today working on new ways to manage multiple projects at once. Make a habit of “heat mapping” or prioritizing your tasks so that you keep everything on schedule and in perspective.

7. Stress Management

As the HR person, people are going to be looking to you in moments of conflict and stress, so you can hardly—if ever—be the one who’s on the ledge. Instead, you have to learn how to deal with your stress in a healthy way so that it doesn’t build up. In this environment, that means knowing when to take a step back and cool down.

8. Balance

Another part of stress management is knowing how to find balance. You’re going to have to fight for virtually every hour off that you take, even when you’re sleeping. You’re going to have to know when to log off your email, and how to demand, not merely ask for family time.

Make balance a priority in your life.

9. Strong Ethics

There are going to be a lot of opportunities to cut corners, and when things are tight, that’s going to be more tempting than ever. In developing a strong ethical core, focus on the menial stuff—kind of like flossing. Maybe if you can convince yourself that flossing every single night is important, you’ll be less tempted to cut corners in other seemingly innocuous areas of life. That is what gets you in the habit.

10. Killer Judgment

Much like the sharks on Shark Tank, you have to know when you’re facing a good investment and a bad one. You’re going to have to make a lot of snap judgments. Learn how to listen to your gut, and be confident about your decision-making abilities.

11. Conflict Resolution

Nobody will mitigate more conflict than the HR team. From the C-suite to the angry employee, you have to know how to talk to everyone at every level. There are plenty of lectures and classes online in conflict management. Take the time to read up.

12. Compassion

You’ll know better than most that people make mistakes. They’ll have a healthy fear of you, and certainly be wary of how intimate you are with keeping the record straight. Learn how to have compassion with people, and give them as much patience as you humanly can.

13. Clear Vision

Finally, you need to align yourself with a vision for the future. Don’t get caught up in the muck of the day-to-day. Learn how to set your sights on what’s ahead, so that you can be focused on growth and the potential that each and every member of the team has to offer.

13 Traits A Small Business HR Manager Needs To Have