Competencies in Action – The Intersection of Leadership and Relationship Management


Have you ever had a rough day only to be buoyed by a kind word from your supervisor?  Have you ever stopped and thought “I love working here. My boss truly respects my opinion.”?  Is it clear that leadership respects employees throughout your organization? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, the likelihood is your workforce is engaged and satisfied. A new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management found 72% of employees rank "respectful treatment of all employees at all levels" to be the most important factor in job satisfaction ( This should come as no surprise given the well-studied relationship between satisfaction and leadership.[1]  What should come as a surprise is that leadership is not the engine driving satisfaction.

Satisfaction and engagement are key levers for achieving organizational success and the truly-skilled HR professional manipulates these levers. In a typical situation, it is the HR department managing satisfaction surveys to assess what matters most.  Beyond that it is the HR Business Partner who takes this information and arms stakeholders like leaders with the tools for generating greater satisfaction which, in turn, can lead to greater effectiveness. This entire cycle is driven by one agent—the HR professional with mad relationship management skills and a true propensity for leadership. This assertion has been supported time and time again by research on HR competencies and their impact on organizational outcomes.[2]

I’m often asked to consider the following question—how does HR contribute to the bottom line? The answer is HR contributes in so many ways. Among the most tangible is ensuring a competitive advantage through effective and engaged talent. My response to business leaders seeking an answer to that same question is—who drives satisfaction in your organization? If HR doesn’t push leadership to satisfy and to engage then who does? Organizations lacking competent HR professionals typically can’t respond leaving them at the intersection of leadership and relationship management without a driver.  Don’t find yourself stuck at this intersection. Learn more about key competencies linked to success at and



[1] Zaccaro, S. J. (2001). The nature of executive leadership: A conceptual and empirical analysis of success. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

[2] SHRM. (2015). Criterion-Related Validity Study on HR Competencies.




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