HomeBlogHR Skills for Managers: Boost Your Team's Success
Human Resources Management

HR Skills for Managers: Boost Your Team's Success

01 November 2023
Photo, 4k ultra-realistic quality, showcasing a corporate meeting room. A diverse group of employees surrounds a table shaped like a puzzle piece. They all work together, fitting smaller puzzle pieces, symbolizing HR skills, into the table. The pieces glow with a yellow light, while the rest of the room has a contrast of black and white. In the background, a window reveals a rocket launch, representing the boost in success. A quirky touch is added with a manager, wearing superhero cape and goggles, directing the assembly with a conductor's baton.
HR ConceptsImportance for ManagersReal-life Application
Understanding HR dynamicsHR influences every aspect of an organization, not only recruitmentA manager uses HR skills to resolve a conflict between team members affecting production
Team dynamicsUnderstanding interaction between team members is crucial for productivity and efficiencyManager leverages HR knowledge to improve team's performance through understanding individual's concerns
Conflict resolutionHaving HR skills averts escalation of conflicts thereby preserving team's moraleManager uses HR skills to mediate and resolve conflict between team members
MotivationHR skills are needed to stimulate team's performance and maintain employee satisfactionThrough good HR skills, a manager can inspire and motivate teams to exceed their potential
'Non-human resources' rolesRecognizing link between HR and non-HR roles aids in holistic managementA financial analyst applies HR skills when collaborating with teams, presenting findings and persuading management
Blurry lines between departmentsToday's managers need to understand HR principles to effectively lead teams despite departmental boundariesProduct manager uses HR skills in coordinating with various teams, understanding consumer needs and negotiating timelines
Workplace satisfactionUnderstanding HR helps in creating a conducive environment where employees can thriveA manager uses HR knowledge to gauge individual concerns and stress, improving workplace satisfaction
Cultivating conducive environmentSuccessful implementation of HR principles develops positive, collaborative workspacesManager encourages a comfortable, inclusive environment, leading to more productive teams
Recruitment and trainingGrasping HR techniques aids in quality recruitment and comprehensive trainingAn operations manager utilizes HR knowledge for effective recruitment and training for operational roles
HR for non-HREvery manager is, in some capacity, an HR manager with responsibilities extending beyond their core tasksA non-HR manager uses HR principles to handle issues related to team dynamics, motivation and conflict resolution

In the ever-evolving landscape of the corporate world, one thing remains consistent: the paramount importance of human resource (HR) management. Whether you're steering the ship of a burgeoning startup or leading a team within a multinational giant, understanding the intricacies of HR is a game-changer. But why should a manager in, say, sales or IT concern themselves with HR dynamics? Simply put, human resources is the backbone of an organization, influencing every nook and cranny. While not everyone wears the HR title, the principles and skills of human resource management are universal, crossing departmental boundaries.

This article delves deep into the world of HR, tailored specifically for those who aren't directly in the HR realm but need to master its essentials. After all, people are the heart of any business, and managing them effectively is every manager's responsibility. So, even if "HR for non-HR" sounds a tad out of your wheelhouse, stick around—you're about to discover just how crucial and relevant it truly is.

HR for Non-HR: Why It Matters

Imagine this: You're an operations manager overseeing the day-to-day functionality of your company's product line. Your primary concerns are efficiency, quality control, and timely delivery. However, a conflict arises between two team members, which begins to affect production speed and overall morale. While it might seem like an HR problem, it's right at your doorstep. Why? Because HR issues are not just limited to the HR department. They permeate every layer, every team, and every project.

That's where the concept of "HR for non HR" comes into play. Even if HR isn't your primary responsibility, understanding its principles is vital for effective leadership. HR's tentacles spread much further than recruitment, payrolls, or benefits. It delves into team dynamics, conflict resolution, motivation, and so much more. For non-HR managers, gaining a foundational understanding of these concepts can mean the difference between a thriving, cohesive team and a disjointed one heading for a downfall.

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Consider the global shift towards interdisciplinary roles. The lines separating different departments are blurrier than ever. Today's manager needs to be a jack-of-all-trades, melding their expertise with HR knowledge to get the best out of their teams. After all, isn't a manager's main role to manage people? And what better way to do so than by incorporating HR skills into their leadership style?

Real-life example: Sarah, a marketing manager, noticed a drop in her team's performance. Instead of pushing harder with strict deadlines or more meetings, she applied her basic HR training. She held one-on-one sessions, gauging individual concerns and stresses. This human-centric approach not only resolved underlying issues but also propelled the team's efficiency and creativity to new heights.

In essence, every manager is, in some capacity, an HR manager. The sooner this is realized and embraced, the smoother and more effective the managerial journey will be.

Nonhuman Resources Definition: Delineating HR from Other Roles

At its core, human resources is about people. It's the engine that drives recruitment, facilitates training, ensures workplace satisfaction, and, above all, cultivates a conducive environment for employees to thrive. But what about those tasks and roles that don't directly deal with HR? How do we delineate between traditional managerial responsibilities and those of an HR manager?

The term "non human resources" refers to areas of management that don't explicitly fall under the HR umbrella. Think financial forecasting, product development, market analysis, and so on. While these roles might seem miles apart from HR on the surface, there's a common thread that binds them - people.

Let's break it down:

A product manager, for instance, is tasked with bringing a product to life. This involves coordinating with various teams, understanding consumer needs and market trends, and ensuring timely product releases. While this role might be product-centric, the effectiveness of its execution heavily relies on human management. From collaborating with the design team to negotiating timelines with vendors, the product manager is constantly leveraging human management skills, even if indirectly.

Another example is the role of a financial analyst. Crunching numbers and predicting market trends might seem devoid of any HR influence. But when this analyst collaborates with teams, presents findings, or tries to persuade upper management to adopt a certain financial strategy, they're treading into the realm of human dynamics.

So, while "nonhuman resources" roles might have distinct objectives and KPIs, they're intrinsically tied to HR principles. Recognizing this overlap is crucial for holistic management. It empowers managers to not just excel in their primary tasks but also harness the power of effective human management, leading to richer collaborations, clearer communication, and a more harmonized workplace.

In essence, while we can categorize roles as HR or non-HR based on primary responsibilities, in the grand tapestry of organizational dynamics, the lines are beautifully interwoven. The magic lies in recognizing this and using it to one's advantage.

What is a Human Resource Manager: Breaking Down the Role

For many outside the HR realm, the title "Human Resource Manager" might evoke images of interviews, onboarding sessions, and perhaps the occasional conflict resolution. But is that all there is to this pivotal role? Let's dissect the multifaceted responsibilities and impact of an HR manager in today's corporate environment.

Job Description of an HR Manager:

At its heart, a Human Resource Manager is the custodian of an organization's most valuable asset - its people. They act as the bridge between the workforce and the company's objectives, ensuring both parties thrive symbiotically. Their job is not just administrative but also strategic.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Recruitment and Onboarding: Beyond just hiring, it's about finding the right fit for the company's culture and future. It's a blend of foresight, understanding job requirements, and gauging a candidate's potential.

  • Training and Development: It's not just about orientation sessions. HR managers identify skill gaps, arrange training sessions, and ensure employees grow in their roles, benefiting both the individual and the organization.

  • Employee Relations: This goes beyond resolving conflicts. It's about cultivating a positive work environment, ensuring open communication channels, and fostering trust between employees and management.

  • Compensation and Benefits: Beyond paychecks, HR managers ensure that employee benefits are competitive, fair, and in line with the company's objectives and resources.

  • Legal Compliance: They ensure that the company adheres to labor laws, thus protecting the organization from potential legal pitfalls.

  • Strategic Planning: They play a crucial role in shaping the company's direction by advising on the human element in business strategies, from mergers and acquisitions to expansions.

Real-life example: Alex, an HR manager at a tech startup, identified a trend of employees feeling burnt out. Instead of taking a passive approach, he spearheaded an initiative to introduce flexible working hours and mental health days. The result? A noticeable uptick in employee morale and productivity, and even a positive shift in company culture.

In essence, the role of a Human Resource Manager is like that of a conductor in an orchestra, ensuring every section comes together harmoniously. They don't just manage people; they shape the very essence of the organization. So, the next time you think about an HR manager, remember they're not just filling seats—they're crafting the future of the organization.

Essential "HR Skills" Every Manager Should Know

Whether you're at the helm of a finance team or spearheading a marketing campaign, a foundational understanding of human resource skills can be your secret weapon. Why? Because every role, at its core, is about managing, influencing, or collaborating with people. Here's a dive into some HR skills that every manager, irrespective of their primary role, should have up their sleeve.


This isn't just about speaking clearly. It's the art of conveying ideas, giving feedback, and listening actively. Effective communication fosters transparency and trust, making collaboration seamless.

Conflict Resolution:

Differences in opinion are inevitable in a team. But turning these differences into constructive dialogues rather than disruptive arguments? That's where adept conflict resolution comes into play.

Team Building:

Creating a cohesive team isn't an overnight feat. It requires understanding individual strengths, fostering a sense of belonging, and cultivating a shared vision.

Understanding Employee Needs:

Are your team members satisfied? What drives them? A keen understanding of these needs can aid in motivation, retention, and overall team performance.


The corporate landscape is ever-evolving. Being adaptable ensures that managers can navigate changes, be it in team dynamics, company objectives, or market demands.

Legal and Ethical Know-How:

While deep expertise might be the HR department's realm, a basic understanding ensures that decisions are compliant and ethically sound.

Real-life example:

Mira, a team lead in a design agency, noticed a dip in her team's enthusiasm. Leveraging her HR skills, she organized a workshop that not only honed their design skills but also incorporated team-building exercises. This not only rejuvenated their passion but also strengthened team bonds, leading to better collaborations on future projects.

It's clear that HR skills are not just the domain of human resource professionals. They are universal tools that can elevate the way any manager interacts with and leads their team. So, even if you're not directly involved in human resources, these skills offer a roadmap to managerial excellence. Because, at the end of the day, management is all about people. And what better way to manage people than with a touch of HR brilliance?

Human Management Skills" Beyond Traditional HR

When we talk about management, it's easy to get bogged down by KPIs, project timelines, and deliverables. But strip away the jargon, and the core remains: humans managing humans. In this maze of human dynamics, traditional HR skills are the compass. However, there are more nuanced "human management skills" that go beyond traditional HR knowledge but are equally pivotal for any manager.

Emotional Intelligence (EI):

Gone are the days when decisions were purely data-driven. Today, a manager's EI - their ability to recognize, understand, and manage their own emotions while also being sensitive to others - is a cornerstone. It fosters empathy, a deeper understanding of team dynamics, and a more humane approach to problem-solving.

Motivational Tactics:

Understanding what drives each team member, celebrating small wins, and creating an environment where each person feels valued isn't just HR – it's leadership.

Understanding Group Dynamics:

Every team has its own rhythm, a unique blend of personalities and skills. Recognizing this mix and leveraging it effectively can spell the difference between a disjointed team and a harmonious one.

Feedback Mechanisms:

Constructive feedback, when delivered correctly, can catalyze growth. It's about striking the right balance between critique and encouragement.

Cultural Sensitivity:

With the global nature of businesses today, managers often find themselves leading diverse teams. An understanding and respect for cultural nuances can lead to richer collaborations and a more inclusive work environment.

Real-life example:

Jake, a project lead in a global software company, had team members from six different countries. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, he took the time to understand each member's cultural background and work preferences. This not only led to a harmonious team environment but also brought diverse perspectives to the project, enriching its outcome.

To sum it up, while traditional HR skills lay the foundation, it's these human management skills that build the structure. They bring depth to interactions, a touch of humanity to decisions, and, most importantly, transform a good manager into an exceptional leader. Because in the world of management, understanding the project is crucial, but understanding the people? That's the game-changer.

Role of HR Manager: Navigating the Organizational Labyrinth

We've talked about what an HR manager is and the skills every manager should possess. But how does an HR manager apply these skills in the practical, day-to-day operations of a bustling organization? Let's take a deep dive into the pivotal role of HR managers, the captains steering the ship of an organization's human capital.

Strategic Partnering:

Gone are the days when HR was just a support function. Today, HR managers are at the strategy table, ensuring that business goals align with human potential. They're the ones connecting organizational objectives with employee performance, ensuring a symbiotic relationship.

Talent Acquisition and Retention:

An HR manager isn't just hiring; they're strategically acquiring talent. They spot potential and ensure cultural fit, and once the talent is on board, they work tirelessly to retain them, understanding that in the modern job market, retention is as crucial as recruitment.

Performance Management:

Beyond yearly appraisals, HR managers establish continuous feedback loops. They set clear performance metrics, monitor progress, and ensure employees have the resources and training to meet and exceed these metrics.

Learning and Development:

The modern HR manager knows that static teams have become obsolete. They're constantly identifying learning opportunities ensuring teams are trained in the latest industry practices, technologies, and soft skills.

Employee Engagement and Well-being:

More than just organizing team lunches or outings, HR managers are the guardians of employee morale. They run surveys, hold focus groups, and ensure that the organization is a space where employees feel valued, heard, and motivated.

Real-life example:

Sophia, an HR manager in a mid-sized fintech firm, recognized early on the signs of digital fatigue in her remote team. Instead of waiting for yearly surveys, she quickly instituted digital detox days, encouraging employees to unplug and recharge. This not only boosted morale but also increased overall productivity, as employees returned to work more refreshed and motivated.

The role of an HR manager is like a tightrope walker, balancing organizational objectives on one side and employee well-being on the other. They're the pulse-keepers, ensuring that the heart of the organization, its people, beats in rhythm with its goals. In the grand theatre of an organization, while various departments might play their parts, it's the HR manager who ensures that the show goes on seamlessly and harmoniously.

Basic HR Knowledge: The Building Blocks of Human Resource Mastery

It's evident that the world of human resources is expansive and multifaceted. However, for those new to the realm or those from non-HR backgrounds aiming to grasp the essence of human resource management, there are some foundational principles to be aware of. These building blocks provide a robust platform to dive deeper into the vast ocean of HR.

Employment Law & Ethics:

Every decision in HR, be it hiring, firing, or conflict resolution, is governed by a framework of laws and ethical guidelines. This ensures fair treatment of employees and protects companies from potential legal troubles.

Recruitment & Selection:

This isn't just about filling vacancies but finding the right candidate who aligns with the company's ethos and has the potential for growth. It's a mix of art (gauging a candidate's personality and potential) and science (assessing skills and experience).

Training & Development:

Ensuring that employees are equipped with the necessary skills, not just for their current roles but also for future challenges, is crucial. This involves continuous learning and adapting to industry changes.

Compensation & Benefits:

Rewarding employees fairly is central to HR. This involves crafting competitive salary packages, performance bonuses, and other perks that motivate and retain talent.

Employee Relations & Engagement:

Building a positive workplace culture where employees feel valued, heard, and engaged is essential for productivity and retention.

Performance Management:

It's about setting clear expectations, providing feedback, and ensuring that employees have the right resources and environment to excel in their roles.

Real-life example:

When Rajiv transitioned from a technical lead to a managerial role in his IT firm, he quickly realized that technical know-how alone wouldn't cut it. To ensure his team's success, he took a short course covering basic HR knowledge. This foundation helped him understand the needs and aspirations of his team members better, leading to improved team dynamics and project outcomes.

In conclusion, while the intricacies of HR can be vast and complex, the foundational knowledge provides a strong anchor. Whether you're an aspiring HR professional or a manager wanting to enhance your team leadership capabilities, understanding these basics is a stepping stone to mastering the human side of business. After all, businesses don't succeed; people do. And understanding people is the essence of HR.

HR for Non-HR: Bridging the Knowledge Gap

In today's fluid organizational structures, interdisciplinary knowledge is not just an asset; it's a necessity. As roles blur and responsibilities intertwine, managers from non-HR backgrounds often find themselves wearing the HR hat, be it during team conflicts, recruitment processes, or even talent retention strategies. So, how can someone from, say, a pure finance or marketing background bridge the gap and embrace the "HR for non-HR" mantra?

Understanding HR Lingo:

While you don't need to know every term, understanding basic HR jargon can aid in smoother communications with the HR department and employees alike. Terms like onboarding, talent pipeline, and employee engagement should be on your radar.

Engage in Cross-Training:

Many organizations offer cross-training opportunities. Enrolling in a few basic HR courses or workshops can provide a foundational understanding and boost confidence in handling people-centric issues.

Collaborate with HR Teams:

Regularly checking in with your HR department can offer insights into best practices. They can provide guidance, resources, and tools that can help you navigate HR-related challenges more effectively.

Empathy is Key:

One doesn't need an HR degree to be empathetic. Understanding and addressing the emotions, aspirations, and concerns of your team can often resolve many issues even before they escalate.

Stay Updated on HR Trends:

The world of HR, like all fields, is evolving. Subscribing to HR newsletters or following relevant HR platforms can keep you abreast of the latest trends and best practices.

Real-life example:

Liam, a sales manager with a decade of experience in his field, suddenly found himself leading a team that spanned four countries. Realizing the cultural and HR challenges ahead, he took a short online course on "HR for non-HR managers." This not only equipped him to handle team dynamics more efficiently but also made him a favorite among his team members for his understanding and inclusive leadership style.

In a nutshell, while diving deep into the HR ocean might seem daunting for non-HR professionals, it's not about mastering every nuance. It's about having a basic toolkit and the right mindset to manage and lead teams more effectively. Remember, in the heart of every role, HR or not, lies the same core component: people. And understanding them can be your biggest strength.

Nonhuman Resources Definition: A Shift in Perspective

Given all our discussions on human resources, it's intriguing to ponder the term "nonhuman resources." While it may initially seem like an antithesis, understanding this concept can be pivotal in offering a more holistic view of organizational management.

Defining Nonhuman Resources:

At its core, nonhuman resources refer to all tangible and intangible assets of an organization, excluding its human capital. This can encompass physical assets (like machinery, office space, or products), financial assets (such as capital or cash reserves), and intangible assets (like brand reputation, intellectual property, or organizational culture).

The Interplay with HR:

While distinct, human and nonhuman resources are deeply interconnected. For instance, the best talents can't perform optimally without the right tools (nonhuman resources) at their disposal. Conversely, the most advanced machinery is of little use without a skilled operator.

Optimizing Nonhuman Resources:

Just as HR managers are tasked with hiring, training, and retaining talent, there are managers dedicated to ensuring that nonhuman resources are optimized, maintained, and aligned with organizational goals.

The Balance Act:

A successful organization seamlessly balances its human and nonhuman resources. It's about ensuring that employees have the right tools to perform their roles and that these tools are leveraged by skilled, motivated, and engaged employees.

Real-life example:

Consider a tech startup. They might have the latest software (nonhuman resources) to develop cutting-edge apps. However, without a team of skilled developers and marketers (human resources), this software might remain underutilized. Conversely, having a top-notch team without the necessary tools can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities.

To wrap it up, while the distinction between human and nonhuman resources is clear, their interdependence is undeniable. In the grand scheme of organizational success, both play pivotal roles. It's not about prioritizing one over the other but harmonizing their synergy. After all, in the intricate dance of organizational growth, both human and nonhuman resources must move in tandem, complementing and elevating each other.

Conclusion: The Harmonious Symphony of HR and Beyond

As we've traversed the multifaceted world of human resource management, one thing stands clear: HR isn't just about hiring and firing. It's a rich tapestry of skills, responsibilities, and understanding pivotal to the success of any organization. From grasping the nuances of HR for non-HR professionals to the delicate balance between human and nonhuman resources, the domain's depth and breadth are undeniable.

For those intrigued by this exploration and keen to delve deeper, a course in human resources can be an invaluable step. It not only solidifies foundational knowledge but also offers insights into the latest trends, challenges, and innovations in the realm of HR.

In essence, whether you're an HR professional, a manager from a non-HR background, or simply someone fascinated by the dynamics of organizational management, remember this: At the heart of every successful organization lies its people. And understanding, nurturing, and leading them is both an art and a science. As the world of work continues to evolve, so does the role of HR, standing firm as the beacon guiding this evolution.

Understanding HR dynamics, HR influences every aspect of an organization, not only recruitment, A manager uses HR skills to resolve a conflict between team members affecting production, Team dynamics, Understanding interaction between team members is crucial for productivity and efficiency, Manager leverages HR knowledge to improve team's performance through understanding individual's concerns, Conflict resolution, Having HR skills averts escalation of conflicts thereby preserving team's morale, Manager uses HR skills to mediate and resolve conflict between team members, Motivation, HR skills are needed to stimulate team's performance and maintain employee satisfaction, Through good HR skills, a manager can inspire and motivate teams to exceed their potential, 'Non-human resources' roles, Recognizing link between HR and non-HR roles aids in holistic management, A financial analyst applies HR skills when collaborating with teams, presenting findings and persuading management, Blurry lines between departments, Today's managers need to understand HR principles to effectively lead teams despite departmental boundaries, Product manager uses HR skills in coordinating with various teams, understanding consumer needs and negotiating timelines, Workplace satisfaction, Understanding HR helps in creating a conducive environment where employees can thrive, A manager uses HR knowledge to gauge individual concerns and stress, improving workplace satisfaction, Cultivating conducive environment, Successful implementation of HR principles develops positive, collaborative workspaces, Manager encourages a comfortable, inclusive environment, leading to more productive teams, Recruitment and training, Grasping HR techniques aids in quality recruitment and comprehensive training, An operations manager utilizes HR knowledge for effective recruitment and training for operational roles, HR for non-HR, Every manager is, in some capacity, an HR manager with responsibilities extending beyond their core tasks, A non-HR manager uses HR principles to handle issues related to team dynamics, motivation and conflict resolution
HR skills non-HR managers human resources team management people management HR responsibilities management success HR for non-HR talent retention performance management employee engagement learning and development HR trends HR knowledge organizational management
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Pia Prebensen
Personal Growth Expert

Pia Prebensen is a personal growth expert who helps people identify and overcome their limiting beliefs. She has been featured in various online and print publications, including Elite Daily and The Huffington Post.

Born and raised in Denmark, Pia has always been fascinated by human behavior and the inner workings of the mind.

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